Chris McGreal and Harriet Sherwood

September 22, 2011

The Palestinian leadership remains prepared to put statehood on the backburner at the UN security council in order to leave room for the revival of peace talks, according to senior Palestinian sources.

The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is said to have told Barack Obama at a meeting on Wednesday evening that he would agree to delaying a security council vote by several weeks, although the Palestinians are maintaining the line in public that any delays will be “procedural not political”.

The Palestinian offer comes despite Obama angering them by defending the US threat to veto the bid for statehood while praising revolutions in other parts of the Arab world.

Obama told the opening of the UN general assembly in New York that negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, not a security council resolution, was the way to ensure a lasting peace. But he was challenged by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who said US leadership on the issue had failed and called for a new initiative involving Europe and Arab states to create a Palestinian state within a year.

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