Thursday, February 17, 2011

Obama calls Abbas to prevent UN vote on Settlements; makes clear US will will veto resolution

(Haaretz).U.S. President Barack Obama called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in an attempt to prevent the impending vote on a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

The U.S. has made it clear that it will veto the resolution should it come to a vote, and it would mark the first time the United States has used its veto power since Barack Obama assumed the presidency.

Security Council members have carried out unofficial discussions on Thursday evening ahead of Friday's vote. UN sources told Haaretz that according to the discussions it seems that the United States is not the only member that is against carrying out the vote.

A senior diplomat said that the U.S. isn't alone in its reservations regarding the vote, and that the five permanent council members do not like votes which force a rift between the permanent members of the Security Council.

The diplomat said that the general feeling that comes from the unofficial discussions between member states it that they would rather go for a move that would not create conflict in the Security Council.

One of the attempts by the U.S. to thwart the vote was to offer a compromise to the Palestinians, that instead of a resolution condemning Israel, the U.S. would support a presidential statement that would call the settlement activity illegitimate, which is not legally binding as a UN Security Council resolution.