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    Ukraine in Mind, US Frantic to Avert Mideast Showdown at UN

    Ukraine in Mind, US Frantic to Avert Mideast Showdown at UN

    (AP) — The Biden administration is scrambling to avert a diplomatic crisis over Israeli settlement activity this week at the United that threatens to overshadow and perhaps derail what the U.S. hopes will be a solid five days of focus on condemning 's war with .

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken made two emergency calls on Saturday from the Munich Security Conference, which he is attending in an as-yet unsuccessful bid to avoid or forestall such a showdown. It remained unclear whether another last-minute intervention might salvage the situation, according to diplomats familiar with the ongoing discussions who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    Without giving details, the State Department said in nearly identical statements that Blinken had spoken to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from Munich to “reaffirm the U.S. commitment to a negotiated two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability.”

    “The secretary underscored the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to take steps that restore calm and our strong opposition to unilateral measures that would further escalate tensions,” the statements said.

    Neither statement mentioned the proposed U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an immediate halt to Israeli settlements. The Palestinians want to bring that resolution to a vote…

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