The United States would veto any resolution on Palestine statehood in the powerful United Nations Security Council, a top American official said on Friday, arguing that any statehood recognition should come through bilateral negotiations with Israel.
While there has been no formal notice to the UNSC yet, the US Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told reporters at a White House news conference that "we would veto" any resolution with regard to Statehood to Palestine in the Council.
"They need to work this out to Israel," Rhodes said, as he underlined the US position that such a move would be counterproductive and not help in achieving full statehood.
He said presently it was unclear "what course Palestinians are going to pursue at the UN, what the sequencing of actions at the UN will be".
"I wouldn't want to address potential consequences to those actions before we can look at the situation we're dealing with.... We'll continue to oppose those efforts, but until we know what the precise proposal is, we're not capable of speaking about potential consequences," Rhodes said in response to a question.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney yesterday said Palestine can't aim to achieve Statehood by passing of a resolution at the UN and insisted that the best way to get this is through negotiations with the Israel.
"The Palestinians will not, and cannot, achieve statehood through a declaration at the United Nations. It is a distraction, and, in fact, it's counterproductive," Carney said.
"That remains our position. We continue to be focused with great intensity on the need to get Israelis and Palestinians together again in direct negotiations, because that is the path towards a two-state solution and Palestinian statehood," he said.
President Obama, Carney said, believes that the only way to resolve the issues between the Palestinians and the Israelis and to ultimately create a Palestinian state is through direct negotiations.
Top US diplomats, he said are currently engaged to avoid this showdown in New York. US has threatened to veto any Palestinian application for full membership of the UN or go to the General Assembly for enhanced observer membership this month.
Earlier in San Francisco, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Palestinians that their effort is shortsighted and cannot succeed, saying the road to peace and two states living side by side does not go through New York.
"It goes through Jerusalem and Ramallah," she said. "It is our absolute conviction that we need to get the parties back into negotiations on a direct face-to-face basis and that they have to be at that negotiating table working through the framework that President Obama laid out in May. That remains our focus. We are absolutely committed to pursuing that," Clinton said.
The Secretary of State said the US was working closely with a range of international partners and seeking to "convince both sides to do what must be done in order to bring about a resolution of the issues between them, and thats going to be certainly the core of all of our efforts for the next several days".
Meanwhile, two US Senators Ben Cardin and Susan Collins wrote a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas imploring him to return to direct negotiations with Israel and urged him to avoid actions that would be counterproductive to a permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"We strongly urge you not to pursue a unilateral declaration of statehood or recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations later this month. We believe this action does not further the peace process," they wrote.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said such a move will take them away from the goal of achieving real, lasting peace and security between Israel and the Palestinians.
"We need to make it clear, publicly and privately, that all of our governments will vote 'no' if any resolutions come up at the UN to admit 'Palestine' as a Member, to upgrade the status of the Palestinian observer, or to otherwise recognise or support Palestinian statehood prior to a final, negotiated peace agreement," she said.