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How US could avoid vetoing Palestinian statehood

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The US and the four other permanent members of the council – Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom – all wield veto power, but only the US has said it would use its veto to stop creation of an independent Palestine.

China on Monday announced that it supports the petition – but in his speech Monday to the UN General Assembly, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also underscored China’s support for a return to direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Last week at the UN, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a speech that he supports non-voting “observer” status for Palestine that could be approved through the 194-member General Assembly – suggesting France would vote “no” on full statehood through the Security Council.

On Friday the Quartet of powers seeking to broker Mideast peace – the US, the European Union, Russia and the UN – issued a statement in which they called on the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table within a month, with the goal of reaching a final peace agreement by the end of 2012.

The Security Council is unlikely to call a vote on the Palestinian statehood bid while Israel and Palestine mull the Quartet’s statement on proposed talks, UN officials say.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday that the US will participate in the Security Council’s deliberations on the Palestinian petition, but that for the US the focus remains getting the parties back to the table.

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