Palestinian: US warns of aid cut for statehood bid

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- A Palestinian official says the United States has warned it will stop financial support if the Palestinians go ahead with a unilateral bid for statehood in September.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said the U.S. Consul-General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein, told him Friday that the U.S. will take "punitive measures" if the Palestinians proceed with seeking U.N. recognition of statehood. Erekat said Rubinstein warned the U.S. will stop granting the Palestinians an annual aid package of $470 million. The U.S. consulate said it had no immediate comment.

Israel and the U.S. strongly oppose the Palestinians U.N. plan, saying Palestinian statehood should only be achieved through negotiations. They maintain that a Palestinian state must emerge from Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have been stalled for almost a year.