RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The Palestinians will ask the Security Council next week to accept them as a full member of the United Nations, the top Palestinian diplomat said Thursday -- a move that comes in defiance of Washington's threat to veto the statehood bid.
The remarks by Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki put an end to speculation that the Palestinians might avoid a showdown with the United States by sidestepping the Security Council and going directly to the U.N. General Assembly to seek a lesser status of a non-member observer.
The U.S. does not wield veto power in the General Assembly, and a Palestinian bid there would be expected to win majority approval.
The Palestinians will likely still end up at the General Assembly with scaled-back ambitions, however, if the U.S. exercises its veto power in the Security Council as expected.
The U.S. has been on a furious diplomatic offensive to try to keep the Palestinians from going to the U.N. in their statehood quest, saying negotiations are the only way to produce a Palestinian state.
Israel also opposes the U.N. move, which the Palestinians launched after concluding that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations -- stalled for nearly three years -- were not going to produce any breakthroughs at this time.
Malki said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would present the statehood bid to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon after delivering his speech before the General Assembly on Sept. 23.
Malki spoke to foreign journalists in Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.
His comments came as U.S. and other international envoys were shuttling back and forth between Jerusalem and Ramallah in an effort to avert a diplomatic crisis over the Palestinians' U.N. bid.