Hague: UK abstained as no assurances from Palestine

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has explained why Britain abstained from voting on whether to grant Palestine upgraded status at the UN:

We called on President Abbas to set out a willingness to return to negotiations without preconditions, and to signal that the Palestinians would not immediately seek action in the International Criminal Court, which would be likely to make a return to negotiations impossible.

We sought these assurances because they would help create the strongest possible foundation for a return to talks, if combined with action by Israel and support from the international community, after a long and painful period for both parties in the absence of negotiations.

This was the guiding principle behind our vote.

In the absence of these assurances from President Abbas, the UK abstained on the vote, in accordance with the approach I set out in the House of Commons this week.