Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said his efforts to seek UN membership for the Palestinians would not affect negotiations "that we want to continue to have" with Israel.
Abbas is in Spain as part of a foreign tour aimed at drumming up support for United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state amid a long stalemate in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
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But the Palestinians' plan to seek UN membership for a state on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War is opposed by among others Israel and the United States. It risks being blocked by a US veto at the UN Security Council.
"Whatever happens and whatever the reaction and the result of our action in the UN, we know conclusively that we will return to the negotiating table to reach the best solutions with the Israelis," Abbas said in a speech in Arabic at the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona.
Abbas in Spain. Drumming up support (Photo: AP)
"The efforts that we have taken to go to the United Nations in September will not be detrimental to peace nor to negotiations that we want to continue to have."
The speech came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was willing to hold peace talks with the Palestinians immediately.
"I'm prepared to negotiate with president Abbas directly for peace between our two peoples right now. We can do it here in my home in Jerusalem, we can do it in Ramallah (in the West Bank), we can do it anywhere," he told Arabic-language television station Al-Arabiya.
During talks with Abbas in Madrid earlier, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero urged Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
Zapatero called for "work to continue on finding a consensual solution that will allow both sides to resume their dialogue and return to the bargaining table", the Spanish government said in a statement.
Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez later said Spain was linking any recognition of a Palestinian state to efforts by the Israelis and Palestinians to agree on the "basic elements" of a solution.
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