Clinton talks to Palestinian leader Abbas over UN bid

WASHINGTON- Top US diplomat Hillary Clinton spoke Tuesday with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas ahead of a controversial UN showdown over the Palestinians' bid for UN membership, State Department officials said.
Clinton urged Abbas "to work hard with us to avoid a negative scenario in New York at the end of the month," said US spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, in reference to the expected application for a Palestinian state on September 20 before the UN General Assembly.

Clinton talks to Palestinian leader Abbas over UN bid
Abbas will Wednesday meet with US Middle East envoy David Hale, and Clinton called on the Palestinian leadership to "hear him with open ears" as Washington hopes to avert a potentially rancorous UN meeting.
Washington has said it is opposed to the Palestinian plan to seek UN membership and is said to be seeking to draft a proposal for peace talks that will be acceptable to Israel, as well as Russia, the European Union and the UN -- the other members of the international peacemaking Quartet.
"We are going to continue to work right up until the UN General Assembly, if necessary, to get these parties back to the table, and we'll continue to work afterwards," Nuland said of US efforts.
US diplomatic efforts are focused on including a number of countries in the region to help deter Palestinians' move toward seeking unilateral statehood.
"We have been talking in diplomatic channels... to a much broader section of countries than we usually talk to about Middle East peace, because many of them who don't usually get confronted with decisions like this could be confronted with a decision in the General Assembly."
Direct talks between Israel and Palestinians came to a halt shortly after they were relaunched in Washington last September over the issue of settlement construction. The Palestinians refuse to resume talks while Israel builds in annexed Arab east Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank.

Tuesday, September 6th 2011

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