Kerry seeks to avert UN Palestinian showdown

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he hoped to head off an end-of-year showdown at the United Nations over Palestinian statehood in meetings next week in Europe.

Bogota: US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he hoped to head off an end-of-year showdown at the United Nations over Palestinian statehood in meetings next week in Europe.

"There are a lot of different folks pushing in different directions out there, and the question is can we all pull in the same direction," Kerry told reporters yesterday during a visit to Colombia.

The Palestinians are carrying out a major campaign aiming to submit to the UN Security Council a draft resolution setting out a two- or three-year timetable for an end to Israeli occupation.

They have said they would like to see the text submitted before the end of the year, prompting a surprise meeting next Monday in Rome between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"What we're trying to do is figure out what makes sense," Kerry told reporters in Bogota.

"We're trying to figure out a way to help defuse the tensions and reduce the potential for more conflict, and we're exploring various possibilities to that end, which is why I'm also meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu."

The Palestinians' UN push comes amid tensions in the region and as a wave of European countries have seen parliamentary votes urging their governments to recognise a state of Palestine.

The Portuguese parliament meanwhile became the latest to press for recognition of Palestinian statehood "in coordination with the European Union," adding that the government should "choose the moment best suited" for the decision.

France's upper house voted Thursday to urge its government to recognise Palestine hard on the heels of a similar motion in the Irish parliament on Wednesday.

Lawmakers in Britain and Spain have already passed their own motions and Sweden has gone even further, officially recognising Palestine as a state, in a move that prompted a furious Israel to recall its ambassador.

Kerry led a nine-month peace bid that collapsed in acrimony in April, and Washington has long opposed what it calls "unilateral" moves to achieve statehood, which it says will only come through a negotiated deal.  

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