The Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council will not meet on or before November 15 to discuss declaring an independent state as it had planned, a senior PLO official said on Friday.
"There will be no meeting on November 15 or before November 15 and (Palestinian Authority) President (Yasser) Arafat and the head of the Central Council will decide a date (for a meeting) at a later time," head of the 129-member Central Council Salim al-Zanun told Voice of Palestine radio.
The Central Council decided on September 10 to delay unilaterally declaring statehood, but vowed to meet by November 15 to review the issue.
Al-Zanun said the meeting was not possible by November 15 because of the Islamic summit in Qatar due to be held from November 12 to November 14.
"We agreed that the date of the Central Council meeting will be declared as soon as possible," Al-Zanun said.
Al-Zanun, cited in the Palestinian newspaper al-Quds, said the Central Council would meet "before the end of the year."
The PLO delayed in September its much-trumpeted plans to declare an independent state and gave Arafat the power to set a new date.
It was the second time in as many years that Arafat pushed back the statehood announcement, both times under intense international pressure.
Israel has said that any attempt to implement Palestinian statehood outside of an accord would destroy the peace process and lead the Jewish state to annex large swaths of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Arafat has already declared Palestinian independence in Algeria in 1988 in what was a largely symbolic gesture taken during the Palestinian Intifada or uprising from 1987 to 1993.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on November 8 stressed that he would accept a Palestinian state, but not one imposed through violence or unilateral actions, apparent references to the PLO statehood declaration and the past six weeks of bloodletting in the Palestinian territories and Israel that has left some 200 people dead -- GAZA CITY (AFP)
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