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UN To Discuss Palestinian Bid On Monday

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas (left) delivers a letter requesting recognition of Palestine as a state to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York on September 23.
The United Nations says it will discuss a Palestinian request to join the world body on September 26.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas handed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter on September 23 formally requesting full UN membership of the UN General Assembly.

"I would like to inform you that, before delivering this statement, I, in my capacity as president of the state of Palestine and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, submitted to His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine, on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif ( Jerusalem) as its capital, as a full member of the United Nations."

Abbas had received a rapturous welcome when he stepped up to the podium, with many of the assembled diplomats giving him a standing ovation. As the applause continued, several members of the Israeli delegation left the hall, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later told the same body that only direct negotiations could deliver peace.

Trying to head off a clash in the Security Council, a quartet of Middle East mediators urged a return to peace talks within four weeks, "substantial progress" within six months and an agreement to be struck within a year.

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and UN Secretary-General Ban made what they called an "urgent appeal to the parties to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions."

compiled from Reuters reports