Susan Rice Says U.S. Not Negotiating Over Statehood Bid

U.N. Ambassador Calls Palestinian Push Counterproductive

Firm Stance: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice stressed that the U.S. would not join talks on wording of the measure advancing Palestinian statehood.
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Firm Stance: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice stressed that the U.S. would not join talks on wording of the measure advancing Palestinian statehood.

By Jane Eisner

Published September 15, 2011.
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Just days before Palestinians are expected to bring their quest for statehood to the United Nations, Susan Rice, the U.S ambassador to the U.N., said emphatically that the Obama administration is not involved in efforts to shape the Palestinian request.

“We’re not negotiating any text,” she told a small group of journalists on Thursday. “We’re not engaged in efforts to water down the text.”

And in case the message wasn’t clear enough, Rice repeated it several times during her discussion with representatives from the Jewish media.

Her insistence that the U.S. Is firmly against any Palestinian move at the U.N. was intended to signal the administration’s intent to act in concert with Israel and to distance itself from negotiations reportedly taking place among some European leaders and the Palestinians.

It also could put the U.S. in diplomatic isolation as leaders of the world body gather for the opening of the General Assembly next week.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to bring his request for recognition to the U.N. even though it still is not clear whether he will ask for full statehood or lesser observer status.

Either way, Rice said that the Obama administration will vote no, and urge others to do so, too. The Palestinian maneuver, she said, was ill-conceived, diversionary, short-sided and self- defeating. She said it would only make negotiating a permanent peace more difficult.

“It’s hardly likely that Israel will be in the mood to go to the negotiating table after the drama here in New York,” RIce said.

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