September 21, 2011
US presents plan for PA to defer UN bid for one year
Washington aims to salvage Mideast crisis aversion plan, suggests PA be allowed to deliver statehood bid to UN but defer acting on it for 12 months
The US and its allies changed tactics on how to avert a crisis over a Palestinian statehood bid, as the White House announced Tuesday that President Barack Obama would meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. At the same time, US officials conceded they could not stop Abbas from officially launching his case for the Security Council’s approval of the statehood effort.
But they hoped to contain the fallout by urging Abbas not to push for an actual vote in the Council, where the US has promised a veto, to give international peacemakers time to produce a statement that would be the basis for resumed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Obama is expected to make a pro forma request to Abbas when they meet Wednesday not to proceed with his initial plan, but also make the case for the Palestinian leader to essentially drop the move for statehood recognition after delivering his letter of intent to the UN, expected Friday.
“The president will be able to say very directly why we believe that action at the United Nations is not the way to achieve a Palestinian state,” said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser. He noted that Abbas has indicated his intent to go the Security Council, but said Obama “has made it clear that we do not believe that that will lead to a Palestinian state, that we oppose such efforts.”
Obama will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
The new approach would see the Quartet of Mideast peace mediators — the US, European Union, United Nations and Russia — issue a statement addressing both Palestinian and Israeli concerns and setting a timetable for a return to the long-stalled peace talks, officials said.