The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a motion opposing a move being promoted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, for recognition of a state within the 1967 borders without Israel's agreement.
The decision, which was reached by general consensus rather than a vote among house members, states that the US would not recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state and would veto any resolution for recognition brought forward in the UN Security Council without an agreement between the two sides.
The Chairman of the House's Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman, initiated the decision. The precise wording states that the US "reaffirms its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The US reaffirms strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians," the motion says, also stating that "real and lasting peace could only be achieved through direct negotiations between the two sides".
The house mentioned that Palestinian leaders were threatening to make a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and were requesting recognition from the UN and other international forums.
"On November 24 2010 Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas wrote to the Brazilian President requesting that she recognize a Palestinian state, hoping that his actions would encourage other countries to recognize a Palestinian state."
Following the request, Brazil Argentina and Uruguay recognized a state within the 1967 borders. Berman's decision includes a call on the government to lead diplomatic efforts to convince other countries to oppose such moves.
The house also called on the Palestinian leadership to cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state.
It also calls on Abbas to resume direct negotiations with Israel immediately and expresses support for the Obama Administration’s opposition to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
Mitchell proposes 'parallel' talks
Meanwhile, US special envoy George Mitchell has proposed six weeks of "parallel" negotiations with Israeli and Palestinians negotiators, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday.
Mitchell, who met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday, suggested the US administration hold "parallel talks with the Palestinian and Israeli sides separately, and not negotiations," he told AFP, on condition of anonymity.
Over six weeks from Sunday, the two sides would meet US officials to discuss the issue of security, and from Monday for talks on border arrangements for a peace deal, as well as any other issues requested by the two parties.
"What is discussed with each side will not be divulged to the other, but the aim is for the US administration to form an idea of what the two parties want with a view to drawing up a strategy to re-launch direct negotiations at the time it deems appropriate."
AFP contributed to this report
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