PressTV - Mideast Quartet looks to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian talks:
Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:38AM
Rhonda Pence, Press TV, Washington
"Top diplomats from the Middle East Quartet -- comprised of officials from the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia -- met Monday night hoping to kick-start stalled negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a working dinner with a group that included United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a number of officials from member countries.
The meeting took place two months before the Palestinians are due to seek admissions to the UN as a full member, an effort the White House strongly opposes. Palestinians are set to forge ahead with the effort, but the application needs UN Security Council approval and is likely to be met with a veto from the United States. If that happens, the Palestine Liberation Organization says it will go to the UN's General Assembly to seek admittance as a non-member state, for which the Palestinians would need the support of just over half the 192 member states. The PLO says it already has support of 157 nations.
Such overwhelming international support for Palestinian statehood is partly what the US hopes to avoid in September. Washington has repeatedly urged the Palestinians to drop their attempts to go to the UN saying statehood must be secured through US mediated negotiations.
US-sponsored negotiations have stalled since Israel decided not to renew a partial moratorium on settlement construction in late September 2010. Palestinians refuse to negotiate while Israel is building in settlements. On Capitol Hill, the House and Senate have approved companion resolutions that threaten the Palestinian Authority with a suspension of US aid should it continue to seek statehood from the UN.
The White House now faces a countdown to a possible bruising diplomatic defeat. Experts say it will take more than high-toned rhetoric to derail the Palestinian statehood recognition drive.
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