WORLD : Palestinians in Occupied Areas Sever U.S. Ties to Protest Veto

From Times Wire Services

Palestinian leaders in the Israeli-occupied territories broke off contacts with the United States today after Washington vetoed a U.N. resolution to send a fact-finding mission to the occupation zone.

"We announce our boycott of any official contact with the U.S. Consulate and any American envoy and we will not respond to any invitation to meet with any emissary," 50 leading activists said in a joint statement.

Fourteen of the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council voted on Thursday to send a three-member commission to the occupied territories to recommend ways of protecting Palestinians but the U.S. veto overrode their votes.

"The United States is outside international legitimacy by vetoing the decision," the statement said.

Washington has given mixed signals on the issue of U.N. observers. On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said the United States planned to support sending a U.N. team to the occupied territories. She called that a shift from previously declared policy.

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