Palestinians will not spurn U.S. despite veto: Abbas


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday he would continue to cooperate with the United States despite Washington’s veto of a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements on occupied land. “We do not seek to boycott the American administration and it is not in our interest to boycott anyone,” Abbas told Palestinian Wafa news agency in Ramallah. The United States on Friday vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution which described Israeli settlements as “illegal” and urged the Jewish state to “immediately and completely” halt all settlement activities. On Friday, a Palestinian Liberation Organization official said the Palestinian leadership was ready to risk “a diplomatic crisis” with Washington. The first U.S. veto to be cast by President Barack Obama’s administration came after appeals by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to persuade the Palestinian leader to withdraw the draft or accept a non-binding motion. The U.S. issued a message on Saturday instructing its diplomatic staff not to travel to certain parts of the West Bank for personal or official purposes over the next three days.

A spokesperson for the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem said the measure was precautionary and that there was no information of any specific threat. U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed last year after Israel refused to extend a moratorium on West Bank settlements. The Palestinians say continued building flouts the internationally backed peace plan that will allow them to create a viable, contiguous state on the land, occupied by Israel in a 1967 war. Israel says this is an excuse for avoiding peace talks and a precondition never demanded before during 17 years of negotiation, which has so far produced no agreement.

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