US seeks to slow UN action on Palestinian state

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2011 6:05 PM
US seeks to slow UN action on Palestinian state

The Obama administration pressed other members of the U.N. Security Council to take their time in considering the Palestinians' bid for statehood, arguing on Monday that going slow may allow Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to resume without a confrontation at the world body.

U.S. officials said they were telling fellow members that there's no rush to act on the bid submitted Friday, over U.S. and Israeli objections. The United States is also asking for cooperation from other members in persuading the Palestinians not to push for a quick vote.

The U.S. has vowed to veto the Palestinian resolution and would prefer to avoid a vote on the matter. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe confidential diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the Security Council decided to meet Wednesday to formally consider the Palestinian request for U.N. membership. The announcement was made by Council President Nawaf Salam of Lebanon, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the body this month.

It's not clear how soon the Council will act.

Earlier Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Makati at the United Nations to make the U.S. argument. Lebanon, the only Arab member of the 15-member Council, is expected to support the Palestinian bid.

Clinton told Makati that the U.S. wanted to see both Israel and the Palestinians accept the proposal to resume peace talks issued on Friday by the "Quartet" of Mideast mediators, the U.S., the European Union, Russia and the U.N, according to a senior U.S. official. That proposal calls for a preliminary meeting within a month, followed by a return to full-on talks and progress on security and borders within 90 days. It envisions a peace deal being completed no later than the end of 2012.

The official said Clinton had made similar calls in a meeting with the foreign minister of Colombia, whose country is also a Security Council member.

And, a second senior official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Clinton had told Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in a Monday meeting that the U.S. believed "that this process would play out over some time and that there should be no quick rush to an immediate judgment."