Abbas rejects US bid to halt UN settler vote

AFP , Friday 18 Feb 2011

Palestinian president Abbas rejected a US proposal calling on the Palestinians to abandon their bid for a Security Council vote

President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday turned down a US proposal aimed at luring the Palestinians into dropping support for a UN Security Council vote against Israeli settlements.

The message was passed on in a telephone call between the Palestinian leader and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Abbas's office said.

"There is no change in the Palestinian and Arab position about the proposal presented to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlement on Palestinian land," it read.

The statement came just hours after US President Barack Obama phoned Abbas to try to persuade him to back off from the Security Council vote on settlements, due to take place later on Friday.

Obama suggested to Abbas that the Security Council issue a non-binding statement calling on Israel to implement a settlement freeze.

Earlier in the week, Washington's ambassador to the United Nations proposed a package of incentives for the Palestinians to back off from the Security Council vote. The Palestinians refused.

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