Palestinians will remain on course against US veto, official says
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is determined to submit an application for UN membership to the Security Council despite the US veto threat, a Palestinian official said Wednesday, DPA reported.
Abbas was to meet with US President Barack Obama later Wednesday and the meeting should be "friendly," said Nabil Shaah, a spokesman for the Palestinian delegation to the UN General Assembly session.
Shaah said the strategy adopted by the Palestinian Authority remains unchanged. He said the next step after the council will be to submit the application to the UN General Assembly, where a majority of members support the Palestinian quest for membership.
Shaah said Abbas will maintain his position during talks with Obama.
He called Obama's speech to the assembly, in which he called for the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with Israel, "eloquent" but said Obama had missed the reason for the Palestinians to push forward with their demands at the UN.
He said the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories was "precisely the reason why we are heading to the General Assembly - end the Israeli occupation."
He said Israel has been "deepening and widening" its occupation of Palestinian territories, seized by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, depriving the Palestinians of their right to livelihood. That was the reason the Palestinian Authority decided to seek full UN membership, Shaah said.
Obama said in his speech that the UN cannot settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, urging the two sides to return to negotiations.
"We will tell him (Obama) that it is morally and legally correct to go to the UN," said Shaah, who was a former Palestinian foreign minister and now an adviser to Abbas.
Abbas met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday and discussed the application. Shaah said Ban promised to speedily forward the application to the Security Council, where the US can use its veto power to block the application.