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Palestinian President Vows to Pursue Statehood Recognition

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 27, 2011

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday again vowed to seek United Nations membership for a proposed Palestinian state.

He added that the bid is not an alternative to reopening negotiations with Israelis and restarting the Mideast peace process.

Abbas met with Palestinian council members Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss the proposal to seek membership in the world body.

The meeting comes just days after Abbas met with Palestinian diplomats in Istanbul, Turkey, to finalize a strategy for seeking recognition of a Palestinian state in September.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA said Abbas stressed that he plans to coordinate with the U.S. and Europe to avoid confrontation.

On Tuesday, Israeli and Palestinian envoys squared off at the United Nations Security Council over the plans.

The Palestinian U.N. observer, Riyad Mansour, said seeking recognition would not hurt the peace process and would instead strengthen efforts to achieve a two-state solution. He said his government cannot wait any longer for Israel to negotiate in good faith.

Mansour did not say whether the Palestinians will seek U.N. membership as a sovereign state - which requires Security Council approval - or will push for a non-binding resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, urged Palestinians to return to direct negotiations.

The two diplomats spoke during the final public discussion at the U.N. Security Council about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis before the General Assembly meets in September.

U.S. Deputy United Nations Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo told the Council that Washington will not support any unilateral bid by the Palestinians for recognition. The U.S. is one of five veto-wielding permanent Council members and has made clear it would block any such move.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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