U.S. Scrambles to Avert Palestinian Vote at U.N.


Stephen Lee Myers and David D. Kirkpatrick
New York Times
September 14, 2011

WASHINGTON — The United States faced increasing pressure on Tuesday as the Palestinian quest for statehood gained support from Turkey and other countries, even as the Obama administration sought an 11th-hour compromise that would avoid a confrontation at the United Nations next week.

With only days to go before world leaders gather in New York, the maneuvering became an exercise in brinkmanship as the administration wrestles with roiling tensions in the region, including a sharp deterioration of relations between three of its closest allies in the region: Egypt, Israel and Turkey.

Nabil el-Araby, secretary general of the Arab League, said after meeting with the Palestinians that “it is obvious that the Palestinian Authority and the Arab countries are leaning towards going to the General Assembly,” where a successful vote could elevate the status of the Palestinian Authority from nonvoting “observer entity” to “observer state,” a status equal to that of the Holy See.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey ratcheted up pressure on the United States and Israel by telling Arab League ministers that recognition of a Palestinian state was “not a choice but an obligation.”

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that American negotiators would return to the region on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in a final effort to avert a vote on the matter.

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