Abbas: Ties With U.S. Won't Be Severed Over Veto of UN Settlement Resolution

Palestinian president says it isn't in Palestinian interests to break ties with U.S. administration, despite their veto of UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement building.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that he does not expect to cut ties with the United States over its veto of a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian territories.

The U.S. on Friday voted against a draft resolution against Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Their vote prevented the resolution from being adopted, as the U.S. is one of five permanent members on UN Security Council. The 14 other members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution.

"We are not seeking to break from the U.S. administration and it is not in our interest to do that," Abbas said. "We only want to protect our interest and our rights as guaranteed in international law."

In spite of the failure of the resolution, Abbas said that Palestinian diplomacy had achieved success because 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution.

He admitted to pressure from the U.S. to withdraw the resolution. "But our concern for the interest of the Palestinian people was bigger than all the pressure," he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Abbas hours before the scheduled vote in an attempt to dissuade him from proceeding with it.

Abbas said the Palestinian leadership made "a wise decision" by proceeding with the Security Council resolution.

Palestinians have planned a "Day of Rage" on Friday to protest the American vote, which has drawn praise from Israel, who says they "deeply appreciate" the veto.

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were halted in September after a temporary Israeli settlement freeze expired. Palestinians refuse to return to the negotiating table unless settlement building halts completely, including in East Jerusalem.

abbas obama - AP - September 1 2010