Russia and US in urgent meeting over future of Mideast talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held an urgent meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the future of Middle East peace talks.

The meeting in New York was held behind closed doors, but the assumption is that Lavrov and Clinton were discussing a possible resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. They also discussed the possibility of a meeting of the so-called Mideast Quartet.

The much-anticipated Palestinian bid for full statehood is the main highlight of this year’s meeting at the United Nations.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived in New York this Sunday and is expected to present the Palestinian bid for statehood to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the coming days.

Last year, US President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that by 2011 the US hopes that Palestine will become a member of the world body.

However Washington’s latest actions have been seen as backtracking, with Palestinian officials referring to it as a stab in the back.

The US has made it clear that it would veto any UN Security Council decision or resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood – which makes the bid unrealistic to be passed.

As many countries support UN membership for Palestine, the Palestinians are expected to then try to go through the UN General Assembly, which with a two-thirds majority can award non-member observer status to the Palestinians. This would get grant them inclusion in a number of international bodies, something the US and Israel oppose.

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