WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama refused to publicly commit to veto a draft resolution in the UN Security Council calling for recognition of a Palestinian state, Politico reported on Thursday, months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly outraged the White House by addressing a joint session of Congress.
According to the Politico report, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid attempted to convince Obama to declare the intention to use a veto in order to rally Congress Democrats behind the nuclear agreement with Iran, which caused serious disagreements within the party.
Ultimately, the US successfully worked behind the scenes to remove such a proposal from the agenda at the UN General Assembly.
Politico's report came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN General Assembly and demanded that the international body give the Palestinians full member status.
Reid, who announced he would leave the Senate at the end of the year, is known as a friend of Israel. He twice approached the White House with the request for the public declaration, said Politico.
In June, Obama and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power declined to publicly commit to blocking a move in the Security Council, although in the past Obama made sure to use a veto and to threaten to do so every time the issue was raised.
The White House explained that Obama stood by his opposition to a draft resolution on recognizing a Palestinian state, but would declare this publicly.