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Israel seeks block of Palestinian statehood drive

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought assurances from US Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington would block efforts by Palestinians and Europeans on Palestinian statehood.

"Our expectation is that the United States will stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution to the conflict will be achieved through negotiations, and I do not see a reason for this policy to change," Netanyahu told reporters after a meeting in Rome that lasted some three hours.

Before the meeting, Israel put the United States on notice that it expected Washington to exercise its UN Security Council veto against any resolutions setting a time frame.

Netanyahu declined to comment on whether he was given an assurance by Kerry that the United States would exercise its veto. A source with knowledge of the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Israeli leader had indeed asked for such an assurance.

A senior State Department official said Washington had made clear in discussions that it would oppose certain moves.

"We've made clear throughout these discussions with all of our interlocutors that there are certain things we could never support. (I'm) not going to outline those publicly," the official said.

Jordan has circulated a Palestinian-drafted resolution to the 15-member council calling for Israeli occupation of Palestinian land to end by November 2016.

US officials have indicated that Washington did not find the Palestinian draft acceptable but said that with matters still fluid, it was premature to take a position now on any particular Security Council resolution.

"Whether we have the nine votes at the Security Council or we don't, the decision has been taken to present the Palestinian-Arab resolution in the Security Council on Wednesday," said Wasel Abu Youssef, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinians' highest decision-making body, led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour said that "on Wednesday, most likely a draft will be put in blue." This means the draft resolution could be put to a vote as soon as 24 hours later, though it does not guarantee it will be put to a vote.

Jordanian U.N Ambassador Dina Kawar said she had not received any requests regarding action on thePalestinian draft.

When asked if she was expecting any developments at the Security Council this week, Kawar told reporters: "No, no, because Mr. Kerry is having meetings in Europe with a number of ministers, so we're waiting to see what happens."

From Rome, Kerry traveled to Paris to meet with counterparts from Britain, Germany and France to discuss their efforts to draft a separate UN resolution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US officials said there was no consensus among the European powers on the best way to proceed.

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Tags:  Israel  Palestine  Netanyahu  UN  US  





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