Palestinians to ask Security Council for UN membership (version 2)
Additional information added (first version posted at 21:01)
President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday Palestinians intend asking the United Nations for full membership, despite efforts by Israel and the United States to forestall such a move.
Speaking in a televised address, Abbas said he would ask the UN Security Council to vote on membership for a Palestinian state according to the borders which existed before the 1967 Middle East War, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Membership of the world body must be recommended by the 15-member council, before the 193-member UN General Assembly can vote to accept a new state. The US is likely to veto any Palestinian membership bid which comes before the Council.
Abbas is due to address the UN on September 23, and is expected to make the request for Palestinian membership after his speech.
He did not detail what he would do if the Security Council rejected the Palestinian application, saying that all options were still open.
Israel says a Palestinian state can only come into being through negotiations, and sees the UN bid as an attempt to by-pass peace talks and achieve statehood without the Palestinians compromising on any Israeli demands, such as security guarantees.
However, Abbas said Friday evening that the UN bid did not come at the expense of negotiations, which could begin afterwards and deal with the core issues of the conflict, such as borders, Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and East Jerusalem.
US and European Union diplomats have been making frantic last-minute efforts to find a formula acceptable to both sides which would get negotiations going again, and prevent the Palestinians' UN approach.