Palestinian UN bid: Israel warns harsh consequence

Lieberman warned there will be grave consequences if the Palestinians persist with their plan to seek UN membership.

Jerusalem: Hardline Israeli Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman warned on Wednesday there will be "harsh and grave
consequences" if the Palestinians persist with their plan to
seek UN membership as a state.

Speaking shortly before a scheduled meeting with EU
foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton, Lieberman did not
elaborate on the possible consequences.

"The moment has not yet come to give details of what will
happen," he said.

In the past he has called for Israel to sever all
relations with the administration of Palestinian president
Mahmud Abbas should it press on with its UN bid.

"What I can say with the greatest confidence is that from
the moment they pass a unilateral decision there will be harsh
and grave consequences," Lieberman told an agricultural
conference in southern Israel.

"I hope that we shall not come to those harsh and grave
consequences, and that common sense will prevail in all
decisions taken in order to allow co-existence and progress
with negotiations," he added.

Lieberman has in the past accused the Palestinians of
planning an "unprecedented bloodbath" after the UN move
although they say they will hold purely peaceful rallies.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister
Ehud Barak earlier today met Ashton in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu`s office did not immediately comment on the
talks while a short statement from the defence ministry said
only that Ashton and Barak had discussed "relations with the
Palestinians and the situation in the region."

The EU foreign policy chief arrived from Cairo, where she
met Abbas and Arab League ministers who have been discussing
Palestinian preparations to request UN membership for a state
of Palestine.

Abbas is expected next week to present a membership
request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who will pass it
on to the 15-member Security Council for examination.

Bureau Report

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