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Clinton Urges Palestinians Not to Try for UN Recognition, Announces $150 Million More for Palestinians

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seen shaking hands with Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Bilateral Meeting. Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(WASHINGTON) -- With Israel announcing plans to build new housing units in East Jerusalem in the past week, Palestinians have reiterated their threat to seek U.N. recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state on their own in the absence of process in the Mideast peace talks.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged them not to do it. “We do not support unilateral steps by either party that could prejudge the outcome of such negotiations,” she told reporters following a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit.

On Thursday, Clinton will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, just days after he and President Obama traded barbs over Israel’s decision to build in East Jerusalem. Obama said Israel should halt settlements and Netanyahu shot back that Jerusalem was not a settlement.

Earlier Wednesday, Clinton urged the two sides to restart the talks, saying they are the only way forward. “I believe strongly that negotiations are the only means by which the parties will be able to conclude an agreement that will lead to a Palestinian state and Israel living in security with its neighbors,” she said.

Her comments came as the United States announced Wednesday morning that it would increase its contributions to the Palestinian Authority by $150 million, to $225 million this year. That’s part of an overall support and investment of nearly $600 million this year.

Speaking by videoconference after Clinton, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said his government was on track to improve services and governance in the territory.

“Readiness for statehood is in fact the key objective of the program that we launched,” he said. “We are well on our way...we, as I said, remain hopeful that we are actually going to be state-ready come summer of 2011. It's a goal that we are doing our level best, in fact, to meet.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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