Obama `warned of repercussions` if Abbas goes to UN
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 00:12
  
Ramallah: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Friday defied US attempts to get him to abandon a UN Security Council vote against Israeli settlements after being threatened with repercussions if he did not, his aides said.

His office said he rejected a White House proposal to stop pushing for a formal resolution condemning settlements and accept instead a non-binding statement calling on Israel to freeze construction on land the Palestinians claim for a state."

His response was given today during a telephone call between the Palestinian leader and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the office said.

"There is no change in the Palestinian and Arab position about the proposal presented to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlement on Palestinian land," it read.

One senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said to a news agency the offer, made in an hour-long telephone call from US President Barack Obama, was accompanied by veiled threats of "repercussions" if it were refused.

"President Obama threatened on Thursday night to take measures against the Palestinian Authority if it insists on going to the Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity, and demand that it be stopped," the official said.

"There will be repercussions for Palestinian-American relations if you continue your attempts to go to the Security Council and ignore our requests in this matter, especially as we suggested other alternatives," the official quoted Obama as telling Abbas.

The US president was referring to a package of incentives laid out earlier this week aimed at persuading the Palestinians to withdraw their support for the draft resolution, which is to be put before the Security Council later today.

Despite his decision, Abbas was meeting this evening in Ramallah with the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the central committee of his Fatah movement to discuss the latest developments.

The draft condemns Israeli settlement activity in line with the policy of the international community, including the United States -- but Washington does not believe such issues should be tackled within the Security Council.

After the Palestinians rejected the initial US offer, Obama rang Abbas late on Thursday to suggest that the Security Council make a call for a settlement freeze.

During the conversation, Abbas rejected that proposal too.

"Stopping settlement activity is a Palestinian demand that will not be taken back because it was the reason the peace process fell apart," the Palestinian official quoted him as saying.

"It was a decision taken by the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people are sticking to this demand."

PTI


First Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 00:12


comments powered by Disqus