Arabs to push for U.N. resolution on Palestinian state

The Palestinian president told Arab League foreign ministers that ‘we can't wait any longer’

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Arab League foreign ministers agreed on Saturday to formally present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council that will set a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state.

The ministers set up a committee comprised of Kuwait, Mauritania, Jordan and Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby to begin seeking international backing for the resolution, they said in their closing statement, Reuters reported.

The statement did not specify when the resolution would be presented but diplomatic sources have said Jordan, an Arab member in the Security Council, could present the draft within days.

Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is moving ahead with a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution on setting a November 2016 deadline to end the Israeli occupation.

Abbas told Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday that he had put off such a step repeatedly in response to requests from Washington, but added: “We can't wait any longer.”

In October, the Palestinians informally shared a draft resolution with Arab states and some council members, calling for an end to Israeli occupation by November 2016.

The text was not formally circulated to the full 15-nation Security Council, a move that can only be done by a council member. It was unclear at the time if it would be put to a vote.

Arab states have already given their blessings to the idea of presenting a resolution to the Security Council but had yet to agree a finalized draft and set a date to present it.

Abbas says he will now begin consultations on the draft resolution, but did not mention a timetable.

The resolution is likely to fail, either because it falls short of the needed votes or because the U.S. will veto it, the Associated Press reported.

The Palestinian bid appears largely symbolic and aimed at generating political leverage.

Abbas also warned that the Palestinians could take other steps, including joining the International Criminal Court, if the Security Council rejects the resolution.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby appeared to suggest that the final draft would be endorsed and sent to a vote.

“It is natural that Palestine is heading to the UN Security Council to issue a resolution setting a deadline for ending the occupation,” Agence France-Presse quoted him as saying.

Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as their capital - lands captured by Israel in a 1967 war.

Israel accepts the idea of a “two-state solution” of an independent and democratic Palestinian state living alongside Israel, but has not accepted the 1967 borders as the basis for final negotiations, citing security and other concerns.

(With Reuters, AP and AFP)

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