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ARAB LEAGUE CHIEF VISITS PARIS TO RECRUIT SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE U.N. BID

CAIRO, Egypt, Dec 16- Arab League secretary-general, Nabil al-Arabi, has started coordination with regional states, over a joint plan to recruit support for the Palestinian UN bid, setting a 2-year deadline for ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory.

The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that, al-Arabi left for Paris Monday, where he was set to meet with French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius.

That meeting and another with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, are part of a plan in which foreign ministers of member states of the Arab League have prepared recently, to support the Palestinian UN bid to end Israeli occupation.

The plan, says Palestine’s envoy to the Arab League and assistant secretary-general for Palestinian affairs, Muhammad Subeih, was approved in Cairo on Nov 29, in the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, angrily rejected the Palestinian bid as he headed to Rome for talks with Kerry.

“We will not accept attempts to dictate to us unilateral moves on a limited timetable,” the Israeli leader said in a statement, before flying to Italy.

The PLO has said, they intend to submit a draft text, setting a two-year deadline for an end to the decades-long Israeli occupation of their lands, as early as Wednesday.

France is also leading European efforts to cobble together a resolution, which would require a return to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

US officials have said, Kerry is aiming to learn more about the European initiative, which could place the US administration in a quandary.

Traditionally the US has used its power of veto at the UN Security Council, to shoot down what it sees as moves against its close regional ally, Israel.

But there is a growing impatience in Europe, to end the impasse in the peace negotiations, amid fears that the Middle East risks spiraling into even greater chaos.

Several European parliaments have called on their governments to move ahead with the recognition of a Palestinian state.

US officials told reporters accompanying Kerry that Washington has not yet decided whether to veto or back a European-led UN initiative.

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.

SOURCE: MA’AN

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