July 23, 2011 - 12:00am

ISTANBUL, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched an international campaign with his envoys from 93 countries for state recognition on Saturday.

Abbas told his envoys at the meeting that Palestinians have been left with no choice other than to apply to the United Nations for statehood after negotiations with Israel have stalled.

"This can't be considered a unilateral move, as a unilateral move is settlement construction which Israel continues unabated," Abbas said.

Abbas added that seeking UN recognition of statehood would not prevent the resumption of negotiations with Israel "because there are certain issues which can't be resolved by the UN Security Council, or other bodies. They can only be resolved through negotiations."

"We had fruitful and important negotiations and we almost reached an agreement with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert after we discussed all the core issues and each side understood what the other wanted," he said, adding that negotiations in their current framework could not offer anything because of Israeli stubbornness.

"We want coexistence with Israel as neighbors after we obtain our rights. We want to obtain our state after they obtained theirs in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 181 which stipulated establishment of a Palestinian state."

"They established their state, and then forgot about us and we are still forgotten," Abbas said.

Abbas also said that the PA had told the U.S. administration that they did not want a confrontation.

"Contacts with the US have not stopped," he said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who attended the opening of the conference along with the Turkish foreign minister expressed his desire to see Palestinian reconciliation completed as soon as possible.

He also reasserted during his opening speech to the conference that Turkey will continue to support the Palestinian people in every way possible, and specifically in their bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September.

"The whole world should take action in order to end the illegal siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Israel must also accept that East Jerusalem is capital of the Palestinian state, as Israel can't deny the deprived Palestinian people the right to establish their own state," said Erdogan.

The Turkish-hosted conference included Palestinian heads of mission, officially recognized by 93 countries, including Turkey.

The event's principal aim is to rally international support for a UN recognition of a Palestinian independent state, as the issue is set to be discussed at an upcoming UN meeting in September.

The Palestinian plan to seek UN membership for a state on the lines that existed before the 1967 War is opposed by Israel and the United States. It risks being blocked by a U.S. veto at the UN Security Council.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold since September last year after Israel refused to renew a freeze on settlement building.

The Palestinians have said they will not talk while Israel builds on land they want for their future state.

Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit is also expected in Istanbul today for a working visit, during which he will hold bilateral talks with Erdogan and Abbas.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017