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Saturday May 21, 2011 9:59 AM (EST+7)
Despite Obama warning, Palestinians to pursue UN plan

Read more: Nabil Shaath, Saeb Erekat, statehood, Palestinian statehood, independence, United Nations, US policy, US foreign policy

RAMALLAH, May 21 (JMCC) - Palestinian official Nabil Shaath told the Associated Press Saturday that Palestinians will continue to pursue their bid for statehood at the United Nations this year, despite US President Barack Obama's comments one day earlier that his administration did not support the move.

He and negotiator Saeb Erekat said that given Israel's positions on the peace process, Palestinians had no hope that negotiations would lead to a deal.

Obama met on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House, after which the two spoke to the press in an uncomfortable exchange. The Israeli leader openly rejected several ideas that Obama had expressed in what was billed as a key speech on US policy in the Middle East.

Shaath and another Abbas aide, Saeb Erekat, said late Friday that Netanyahu’s statements make it clear the Israeli leader is not a partner for peace, suggesting there is no point in returning to negotiations.

“I don’t think we can talk about a peace process with a man who says the 1967 lines are an illusion, that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, undivided, and he does not want a single (Palestinian) refugee to go back,” Erekat said. “What is left to negotiate about?”

Abbas has not given a formal response to the parameters for a peace deal Obama laid out in a Mideast speech on Thursday. He is consulting by phone with Arab leaders, plans to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II later Saturday and then convene the leaders of the PLO and his Fatah movement later in the week before giving a response, Erekat said.







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