File photo: The United Nations Security Council at U.N. Headquarters, December 21, 2016 in New York City (Photo: AFP)
Egypt's foreign affairs ministry said in a Saturday statement that the country withdrew a UN Security Council resolution on illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory because it was not sure that it had a chance at passing.
On Friday, the resolution, which stipulates that the establishment of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 has “no legal validity,” was reintroduced by Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela and put into vote.
The 15-member council adopted the resolution by a vote of 14 in favour with one abstention – the United States.
"Egypt wanted more time to make sure that no country would use its veto power to block the resolution, especially after US president elect [Donald Trump] called on the current US administration to veto the resolution," the statement read.
On Friday, Egypt's foreign affairs ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu-Zeid told Dream TV that "Egypt did not realise that the consultations reached [by the UN's member states] were enough to pass the resolution."
He affirmed that Egypt is a main partner with the international community in dealing with the Palestinian cause, which is not limited to settlements, but also includes other issues such as borders and refugees.
The spokesman added that when Egypt realised that the US's next administration wanted to work with Egypt on resolving the issue, it had to carefully weigh everything.
"Perhaps putting forward the resolution could have been, in one way or another, an obstacle to Egypt in its main role [of championing the Palestinian cause,]" Abu-Zeid stated.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters on Friday that "this is a day of victory for international law, a victory for civilized language and negotiation and a total rejection of extremist forces in Israel."
"The international community has told the people of Israel that the way to security and peace is not going to be done through occupation ... but rather through peace, ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state to live side by side with the state of Israel on the 1967 line," Erekat said.