U.S. Laboring to Avoid Veto of Palestinian Statehood Bid at UN, Sources Say

Speaking on the possible outcome of a Security Council vote, U.S. envoy to UN there may be several council members who are 'skeptical about the timeliness' of the Palestinian move.

The United States is working to gather enough United Nations Security Council members to resist a planned Palestinian statehood bid so as to avoid having to use its veto power, Israeli and U.S. sources said on Saturday.

American officials, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have been outspoken in their objection to a unilateral Palestinian move at the expense of continued bilateral peace talks with Israel.

UN Security Council - AP - January 13, 2010

Earlier this week, Obama, referring to the possibility that the recognition of a Palestinian state would arrive to the Security Council, said: "If this came to the Security Council we would object very strongly, precisely because we think it would be counterproductive."

"We don't think that it would actually lead to the outcome that we want, which is a two-state solution," he told Spanish-language media in an interview.

However, officials in both Israel and in Washington have affirmed that the U.S. was hard at work to prevent itself the possible embarrassment of being forced to use its veto power in order to thwart the Palestinian vote, by attempting to assemble enough council members to either vote against the proposal or abstain as to make the veto unnecessary.

In a possible hint to this effort, U.S. envoy to the UN Susan Rice, speaking to reporters on Friday, referred to the possible outcome of a Security Council vote on Palestinian statehood, saying: "Im not going to predict today what exactly the vote count is," adding, however, that "there are more than one, and perhaps several members of the Security Council, who are skeptical about the timeliness of action in the Security Council."

Reports of U.S. efforts to prevent a veto at the UN Security Council came after earlier Saturday, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath indicated that the Palestinian decision to appeal the Security Council was motivated by their rejection of a last-ditch U.S. attempt to sway the Palestinian Authority away from its planned statehood bid and toward resumed negotiations with Israel.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Nabil Shaath said that a plan delivered at the last minute by U.S. envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross did not meet several Palestinian demands, thus convincing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the U.S. was not serious in trying to negotiate peace.