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How US could avoid vetoing Palestinian statehood

Even though nine Security Council members have recognized Palestinian sovereignty, it appears increasingly unlikely that all of those would vote for the formal request.

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On Friday the Quartet of powers seeking to broker Mideast peace – the US, the European Union, Russia and the UN – issued a statement in which they called on the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table within a month, with the goal of reaching a final peace agreement by the end of 2012.

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The Security Council is unlikely to call a vote on the Palestinian statehood bid while Israel and Palestine mull the Quartet’s statement on proposed talks, UN officials say.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday that the US will participate in the Security Council’s deliberations on the Palestinian petition, but that for the US the focus remains getting the parties back to the table.

“There are meetings ... over the course of the week to determine the appropriate procedure and steps forward with regard to the letter from President Abbas, and we will take part in that,” the officials said. “But ... we are hoping that the parties will use the timetable and make good use of the proposal put forward by the Quartet.”

US officials said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the issue in her meeting in New York Monday with Colombia’s foreign minister, María Angela Holguin.

Colombia is one of the 10 non-permanent rotating members of the Security Council the US believes can be counted on as a “no” vote on the Palestinian petition.

Other non-permanent members include: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Germany, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, and South Africa.

Bosnia, Gabon, and Nigeria were all thought Monday to be wavering in what last week was considered to be full support for the statehood bid. Accordingly, a Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, told reporters in New York Monday that the Palestinians planned to meet soon with representatives of those three countries.

“This is an exercise in which there will be tremendous pressure on members of the Security Council,” representative Mansour said, “but we trust in our friends."

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