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UN to consider Palestine resolution 'soon'

UNITED NATIONS: A draft resolution to revive talks on a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement is expected be presented to the UN Security Council by the middle of the month, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations said Monday.

Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour said the text being shepherded by France is expected to lay out a timeframe for negotiations on a final peace deal and possibly a second deadline for Palestinian statehood.

“The French are moving more and more, trying to bring all the European colleagues together, and I think that eventually they will succeed,” Mansour told AFP.

The French-led European initiative is expected to be discussed in Brussels on Tuesday when US Secretary of State John Kerry holds talks with European ministers during a NATO meeting.

The position of the United States, which has repeatedly vetoed UN resolutions seen as pressuring Israel, will be crucial in deciding if the latest push at the United Nations stands a chance.

The Palestinians, backed by the Arab League, circulated a draft resolution at the end of September that called for ending the Israeli occupation by November 2016.

The text however ran into opposition from the United States and other members of the council, opening the way for the Europeans to try to present an alternative draft.

Mansour said he expected a new draft to be submitted to the council “soon, possibly in the middle of the month,” with a vote to quickly follow.

The new resolution would pave the way for an international conference to launch what is widely seen as a final bid for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, with the involvement of all key international players.

There has been growing international alarm over the spate of violent attacks in east Jerusalem and the stalled peace talks on settling Israel’s borders and the fate of Palestinian statehood.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned of a possible new flareup in violence after the devastating 50-day war in Gaza over the summer.

UN diplomats argue that the world can ill afford more violence in the Middle East at a time when Islamic extremists are waging war in Iraq and Syria- AFP

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