EU Chief Urges UN to Set Unilateral Timetable for Palestinian Statehood

BRUSSELS - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Saturday called for the United Nations Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state by a certain deadline even if an agreement is not reached between Israel and the Palestinians.

Solana made the comments in London.

The Palestinians have said they will not revive peace talks unless there is a halt to Israel's settlement activities in the West Bank.

"After a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council resolution should proclaim the adoption of the two-state solution," Solana said, adding that it should include border parameters, refugees, control over the city of Jerusalem and security arrangements.

"It would accept the Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, and set a calendar for implementation. It would mandate the resolution of other remaining territorial disputes and legitimize the end of claims," Solana continued.

Advocating a return to Israel's borders before 1967, Solana said mediators should set a timetable for a peace deal.

"If the parties are not able to stick to [the timetable], then a solution backed by the international community should be put on the table," he said.

Solana also praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "for finally generating an Israeli consensus" on a two-state solution.

Meanwhile yesterday, the Palestinian Authority rejected Netanyahu's call to immediately schedule a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying negotiations would resume only following a freeze of West Bank settlement construction and Israel's recognition of the two-state principle as the solution to the Mideast conflict.

Abbas said negotiations with Israel would continue only within a comprehensive framework including all of the "core issues," including the status of Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and final borders.

A senior Palestinian Authority official told Haaretz that Abbas "knows there is no point in meetings of photo opportunities and meaningless talks, and that we won't again fall into the trap of negotiating for the sake of negotiating."

The comments came in response to Netanyahu's remarks earlier yesterday that he is prepared to meet immediately with Abbas to advance the peace process.

"I call again on the Palestinian leadership in Judea and Samaria, to the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, let us meet. Let us make peace, diplomatic peace and economic peace," he told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. "There is no reason for Abu Mazen [Abbas] and myself not to meet anywhere in the country."

Netanyahu also cited measures Israel has taken to ease life in the West Bank, and called on the Palestinians to reciprocate with goodwill gestures of their own.