US mediating between Israel, Palestine, asked UAE to halt UN settlements vote: Report

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The US asked the UAE to hold off putting forward to the UN Security Council on Monday a draft resolution that demands Israel immediately stop all its settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories, as Washington is trying to broker a deal between the two parties, Axios reported on Sunday citing US and Israeli officials.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken started working on a solution to avoid a UNSC vote last week when he met UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in Washington, Axios reported citing sources with direct knowledge of the issue.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on February 14: “The Secretary and Foreign Minister discussed recent regional developments, such as the need for Israelis and Palestinians to urgently take steps to prevent further escalation of violence and restore calm.”

Blinken then spoke with the Emirati FM over the weekend and “asked for more time to work out a deal before the UAE moved forward with the resolution in New York,” Axios reported a citing knowledgeable source.

On Saturday, the US top diplomat then spoke to both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the State Department. He “reaffirmed US commitment to a negotiated two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability.”

He also stressed to both “the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to take steps that restore calm and our strong opposition to unilateral measures that would further escalate tensions.”

On Sunday, the UAE told the UNSC that it will not call a vote on Monday on the draft resolution which condemns and demands a halt to Israeli settlement activities in Palestinian territories, Reuters reported citing a note the UAE sent to council counterparts.

The note said according to Reuters: “Given the positive talks between the parties, we are now working on a draft PRST which would garner consensus… Accordingly, there will not be a vote on the draft resolution on Monday. Much of the language of the PRST will be drawn from the draft resolution.”

This flurry of diplomatic effort comes after Netanyahu’s government recently authorized Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and a week prior to that announced plans to construct new homes in already established settlements.

The draft UNSC resolution the UAE would have reaffirmed the illegality of establishing Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory and condemned any attempts of annexation, Reuters reports citing the note.

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