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Delay of vote on Goldstone report result of general understanding - Abbas

RAMALLAH, Oct 11 (KUNA) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday the deferral of a vote at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on the Goldstone report resulted from an understanding among the various groups at the council.
"After studying the situation and in order to ensure the largest possible support, we agreed to delay the vote till the next session of the council (in March, 2010)," Abbas said in a speech aired by Pelestine TV channel this evening.
The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, presented the report to the UN HRC in Geneva on September 29.
"The report is now an officially coded document," he said, downplaying the criticisms resulting from the delay.
"If the UN Human Rights Council finds any error in the delay decision, we have courage enough to admit mistake," Abbas affirmed.
He said he instructed contacting the friendly countries to convene an extraordinary session by the council to probe the report and vote on it.
"The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) did not yield to the pressures applied on it.
"The Palestinian presidency took the initiative in contacting the International Criminal Court (ICC) and pressed for forming the fact-finding mission," Abbas recalled.
The PNA offered all possible help for the mission, showed readiness to implement its recommendations and worked out a draft resolution on the issue for the UN HRC.
It kept close contacts with the friendly Arab, Islamic and African groups as well as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to lobby for the draft resolution which met mixed reactions, he went on to say.
"The Palestinian side stood firm in the face of attempts to introduce amendments to, or scrap parts of, the draft resolution.
"The attempts, made by the United States, Russia, China and other powers risked undermine the resolution and render it ineffective in tracking down the Israeli war criminals," Abbas revealed.
Meanwhile, he said he understood the angry reactions of the Palestinian factions to the delay of the report because they are based on the zest for defending Palestine cause.
He, however, criticized Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas for its decision to delay the signing of the Palestinian reconciliation accord, originally slated for October 25.
"The movement proved to be reluctant to sign the accord and seeks to maintain the current political division," he said. (end) nq.gb KUNA 112322 Oct 09NNNN