UN resolution on Israeli settlements ‘urgently needed,’ Abbas says
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UN resolution on Israeli settlements ‘urgently needed,’ Abbas says

PA president seeks international support for diplomatic push, criticizes US policy ahead of multi-country tour

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 11, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 11, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there is an “urgent” need for a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements, in an interview with AFP ahead of a multi-country diplomatic tour.

“The Security Council is a very important subject because it has now become urgent due to settlement activities and because Israel has not stopped these activities,” Abbas said, with the Palestinians currently discussing a new draft resolution at the UN Security Council on the subject.

The draft resolution, which was submitted last week, defines Israeli settlements as illegal and calls for a one-year timetable to reach a final status agreement, according to a copy of the text posted online.

The resolution was written up in consultation with Security Council members, but will likely be stymied by a US veto.

The United States has repeatedly vetoed resolutions opposed by Israel at the UN Security Council, but there has been speculation that US President Barack Obama could change tack in the waning days of his administration.

Abbas criticized what he said was insufficient action from the White House, while at the same time he firmly backed a French initiative to hold an international peace conference this summer.

He spoke late Monday ahead of a tour beginning Tuesday that will take him to Turkey, France, Russia, Germany and New York.

The two-week tour may be among the last chances at renewing peace efforts for the 81-year-old leader.

Peace efforts have been at a complete standstill since a US initiative collapsed two years ago.

Both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly expressed interest in meeting with the other over the last several weeks, but neither side has made a public move to jump-start negotiations.

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