CAIRO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will present its bid for non-state UN membership, despite US and Israeli opposition.
Following talks with Arab League chief Nabil Al Arabi in Cairo, “it has been agreed that the request will be presented on Nov/ 29,” Abbas has told reporters, calling for support from Arab states.
US President Barack Obama told Abbas in a telephone conversation on Sunday that his administration opposes the Palestinian UN initiative, and Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinians go ahead with the bid.
“We don’t want any confrontations with the United States or Israel. If we could start a dialogue or negotiations the day after the vote, we will,” the Palestinian leader said.
“We know we are a country under occupation, but we want our land which was occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem,” Abbas said.
He met Saudi King Abdullah earlier on Monday in Riyadh before travelling to Cairo for an Arab League meeting.
“President Abbas will attend the Assembly General session for the vote,” his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said.
Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinian initiative goes ahead, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman pledging to “ensure the collapse” of PNA.
Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh told a news conference in Ramallah that he believed any response would be relatively limited.
He added the Arab League had promised the PNA a financial safety net in the event of punitive Israeli sanctions.