The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East hopes to clinch a deal for the Palestinians to get greater UN recognition while meeting US and Israeli objections, special envoy Tony Blair said Sunday.
Blair said he hoped that a deal could be reached at the UN General Assembly before Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas carries out a vow to seek UN Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state on Friday.
"What we will be looking for over the next few days is a way of putting together something that allows their claims and legitimate aspirations for statehood to be recognized, whilst actually renewing the only thing that's going to produce a state -- which is a negotiation directly between the two sides," Blair told ABC television.
"I think it is possible to bridge the gaps and produce such a document and if we can do that then in a sense whatever happens with the United Nations happens in a less confrontational atmosphere, and could even happen in a way that helps the process of negotiations and statehood."
The former British prime minister said he could "understand" why the Palestinians were going to the United Nations and that "they're perfectly entitled to go there."
"Let's see if we can craft something that allows the Palestinians to come to the United Nations, to advance their aspirations for statehood that also at the same time allows us to develop a framework for negotiations so that they get back to talking," he added.
Abbas has said he will lodge a bid for UN state membership on Friday. The plan requires UN Security Council approval and the United States has warned it will use its veto on any Palestinian move.
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Blair represents the Quartet, which is made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
Russia has said that it will back the Palestinian bid.
Washington made no direct criticism of Russia's announcement but suggested that as a member of the Quartet, Moscow should make further efforts to get direct peace talks back on track.
Blair said the Quartet wanted a "a way of avoiding a confrontation, a showdown. This week is all about advancing Palestinian statehood."
He added that any such deal with the Palestinians would essentially be "framework of reference for the negotiations... (and) some sense of a timeframe -- a timeline if you like -- for successful negotiations."
The Palestinians say they want recognition of their state within the 1967 lines that preceded the Six-Day War, over the opposition of both Israel and the United States.
Peace talks ground to a halt in September 2010 when Israel failed to renew a partial freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.
Since then, the Palestinians have refused to return to talks as long as Israel builds on occupied territory.
The Palestinians say they are going to the United Nations out of frustration with the deadlock in the peace process.