Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday Britain would abstain from a vote in the UN Security Council on Palestinian membership of the United Nations.
"In common with France and in consultation with our European partners, the United Kingdom will abstain on any vote on full Palestinian membership of the UN," Hague told parliament just days after France said it would abstain.
"We reserve the right to recognize a Palestinian state bilaterally at a moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace," he added.
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Britain is one of 15 nations on the Security Council that is debating whether or not to grant a Palestinian state full membership.
Hague said Britain would "continue to be one of the principal supporters of Palestinian state-building efforts, assisting them to tackle poverty, build institutions and boost their economy".
Britain's decision to abstain in any vote became apparent last week.
The United States has vowed to block any approval given by the Security Council but its membership committee still has to consider the bid.
A draft report of a key committee, obtained by AFP Tuesday, said the Council was deadlocked on whether to accept or reject Palestine as a UN member.
Hague said in a statement that the Palestinian situation would be best resolved by negotiation and urged Israel to return to direct talks with Palestinian leaders.
AFP, Reuters contributed to the report
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