Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will ask the United Nations to endorse Palestinian independence in September even if negotiations restart with Israel.
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Abbas' statement Wednesday signaled a hardening of his position. Previously, he had said he would turn to the UN only if peace talks remain deadlocked.
Earlier in the day, Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority has sought support on five continents for its UN bid to recognize a Palestinian state in September. According to Abbas, so far 122 countries have recognized the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.
Speaking at a PLO Executive Committee meeting, Abbas claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to go back to square one in the negotiations for a peace agreement.
Confrontation with US?
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been stalled for nearly three years, and US diplomats have been trying to revive the talks.
Abbas' comments to Palestinian officials in the West Bank city of Ramallah indicate he is preparing for a confrontation with Israel and the US
The two countries oppose the UN move, saying disputes should be resolved through negotiations. The Palestinians acknowledge a UN vote would be largely symbolic, but believe it would send a message to Israel.
Palestinian observer Riyad Mansour called Tuesday on the UN to recognize a Palestinian state. It's time to end the occupation, he said, before bursting into tears. Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, warned that the Palestinian tactic of bypassing peace talks will lead to frustration and violence.
Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to the story
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