UN will 'take time' to decide on Palestinian resolution

UN will 'take time' to decide on Palestinian resolution

UNITED NATIONS, United States - Negotiations on a draft UN resolution that sets terms for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will take time, Jordan said Thursday, indicating that a Security Council vote was not imminent.

Jordan presented the measure on Wednesday to the UN Security Council on behalf of the Palestinians, who said they were open to negotiations on the text.

"It will take time," Jordan's UN ambassador Dina Kawar told reporters.

Jordan along with Britain and France were hoping to achieve a draft resolution that could be adopted by consensus at the Security Council and will not be vetoed by the United States.

But the United States said Thursday it did not support the current resolution.

"It is not something that we would support," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Washington has repeatedly vetoed Security Council resolutions seen as undermining its close ally Israel.

The Palestinian draft resolution sets a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the timeframe for completing an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories.

A final peace deal would pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as a shared capital, according to the text.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel would never accept "unilateral diktats" while his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed the draft as a "Palestinian gimmick."

The US administration opposes moves to bind negotiators' hands through a UN resolution -- particularly any attempt to set a deadline for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank.

Looking for consensus

"There is not the basis for consensus on the text as drafted and that is why we need to do some work," said a Security Council diplomat.

"The issue now is how do we get something that really does command consensus. The objective that we have is to achieve consensus, which means we want to have a text that everybody can agree," said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

France, working with Britain and Germany, was pressing on with a separate text on reviving the peace process, but it was unclear when that effort would yield results.

"We are continuing our work on a consensus text. We are working on the European text and we will see if we can make progress," said a European diplomat.

Adoption of a Security Council resolution on reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would mark a key step after the United States failed in a high-profile bid to restart the press in April.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that without a return to peace, violence will continue on the ground and war could be re-ignited following the 50 days of bloodshed in Gaza this summer.

With Israel deep in an election campaign for March polls, there is concern that the resolution could play into the hands of hardliners and that delaying UN action would be wise.

"Palestinians now feeling they want to rush ahead, the rest of us quite frankly not sure that is a good idea this side of the Israeli elections that we're now going to have in March," said a Western diplomat.

Diplomatic sources suggested the Palestinians may be willing to hold off on a Security Council vote if they get assurances that Israel will freeze settlement construction until a way forward can be decided.

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