Key US senators said late Monday that they had urged 23 African leaders to oppose the Palestinians' drive to raise their status at the United Nations, with the world body expected to act this week.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, warned the leaders such a move "would run counter to the cause of peace."
"Unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN is not in the best interest of the Palestinian people or conducive to the ultimate objective of two democratic states living side-by-side in security and peace," they wrote.
The lawmakers emphasized Washington's belief that "a resolution between the long-standing conflict can be achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority."
The letter went to leaders of Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Republic of Zambia, according to Coons's office.