Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Abbas condemned "catastrophic" Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, which he said were killing hopes for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict. © Timothy A. Clary - AFP
Mahmoud Abbas
AFP
Last updated: September 28, 2012

Abbas condemns "catastrophic" Israeli settlements

A resolution seeking enhanced UN observer status for the Palestinians will be submitted later this year after the US presidential election, a Palestinian official said on Friday.

"We have begun consultations on the format of the text that will be presented to the General Assembly to upgrade the Palestinian status to an observer state status," Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee, told reporters.

"Most people are looking at the completion of consultations before the end of the year. There are others who have suggested that we target the 29th of November because it's the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."

"The president said openly that he is not going to present it before the American elections," on November 6, she added.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Thursday formally announced that the Palestinians would ask the General Assembly to grant them "super-observer" status that could give them access to UN institutions and agencies.

The announcement, made in his address to the General Assembly, came a year after Abbas asked the Security Council to grant the Palestinians full member status, a request that has been stuck in the council ever since.

"We lost the momentum of last year, very clearly, at the Security Council bid," Ashrawi said.

"We have reached a critical point. Israel has been allowed to undermine the two-state solution to the point where this is a last-ditch effort to try to rescue the chances of peace and the two-state solution by the Palestinians."

Direct peace talks have been on hold since late September 2010, with the Palestinians insisting on an Israeli settlement freeze before resuming negotiations and the Israelis calling for talks without preconditions.

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