Abbas: U.S. should not have veto power over Middle East Quartet decisions
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says dispute with Hamas over formation of unity government hinders bid for statehood at UN in September.
The United States should not have the power to veto decisions by its partners in the Quartet for Middle East peace, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday in a radio interview.
The Quartet, which also includes the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, is expected to meet in Washington on July 11 to discuss ways to revive the deadlocked Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.
Abbas said in an interview to Voice of Palestine radio that the Quartet should adopt clear terms of reference for the negotiations, adding that "it is not right that three members agree on everything then the US comes and vetoes them."
Abbas said that he was still in favor of negotiations but that he was also determined to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September, despite U.S. objections.
Abbas urged Hamas to relent in a dispute over the formation of Palestinian unity government, saying the Palestinian bid to become a UN member state was at stake.
Abbas's Western-backed Fatah movement and Islamist Hamas formally ended their four-year feud in April but remain spilt over the president's insistence that his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, head the proposed new cabinet of political independents.
"We want to go to the United Nations united, and we have to understand, and Hamas and others have to understand, that this government isn't a nationalist government - it is a technocrat government," Abbas said.
"They (Hamas) do not understand that we are subject to very sensitive and fateful conditions. We are entering a very tough battle at the United Nations and they are thinking in terms of 'this minister is for us, and that minister is for you'."
Many Palestinians want factions to close ranks for the UN assembly in September, where their lobbying to be recognized as sovereign in lands Israel captured during the Six Day War in 1967 looks set to win wide - if symbolic - support.
The United States has made clear it would veto any such resolution brought to the UN Security Council, denying Palestinians statehood status. But the deliberations will likely
ramp up foreign pressure on Israel to compromise in peace talks.
Fatah insists the president can nominate his own prime minister and officials say in private that Abbas is eager to keep Fayyad, a respected former World Bank economist, to allay
Western concerns over allying with Hamas.
Hamas, which is shunned by the West for spurning permanent coexistence with Israel and having seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, wants a new figurehead for government
and has been dismissive of the moves at the United Nations.
"I told Hamas and others that Fayyad was simply a man of sufficient experience, and that he has been a prime minister and a minister of finance for years and that he was the right man for this stage," said Abbas, whose administration currently holds sway only in the West Bank.
"I want a government that pushes me forward, not one that takes me backward," he added, calling on Hamas to continue with the inter-factional negotiations. "We will pursue our efforts and we will not say reconciliation has reached a dead end."