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Stakes high as Mideast envoys try to defuse UN row
Slim hopes for success as Mideast envoys seek to contain damage from UN confrontation
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' U.S. and European officials are racing to avert a looming showdown over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this week that may kill already wounded Mideast peace hopes.

Senior envoys will be meeting Sunday in New York to try to find a formula to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to stalled negotiations without antagonizing either side or embroiling the region in new turmoil. But the parties are locked in intractable positions over the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition and chances for a breakthrough appear slim. Officials say the effort may be more damage control than diplomacy.

One idea is to convince the Palestinians to accept only a modest upgrade in their current observer status at the United Nations.

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