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Abbas anticipates long debate in Security Council on Palestine UN membership

Saturday, September 24th 2011 - 21:50 UTC
Full article 4 comments
“We are talking about weeks not months” Abbas said (Photo Getty Images) “We are talking about weeks not months” Abbas said (Photo Getty Images)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he expected the Security Council to finish debating his nation's application for full UN membership within weeks, not months.

Speaking to journalists on his plane back from the General Assembly in New York, where he presented the request, Abbas said Security Council members had initially appeared unenthusiastic about the idea of discussing the application.

But he said the mood appeared to change after he delivered a speech to the General Assembly on Friday, during which he pressed the Palestinian case for an independent state alongside Israel.

The United States, Israel's closest ally, has said it will block the move. Both governments say direct peace talks are the correct way for Palestinians to pursue peace. Washington holds veto power in the 15-member Security Council.

“We are talking about weeks not months,” Abbas said.

Abbas's statehood bid reflects his loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, and alarm at Israeli settlement expansion in occupied land that Palestinians want for a state.

Apart from the US veto threat, it was also unclear if the required nine of the body's 15 members would support the bid.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki told national radio that officials were still hoping to garner the required votes.

“Consultations continue, especially with Gabon, Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which have yet to define their position,” Maliki was quoted as saying.

Alternate to the Security Council, the Palestinians, who currently have observer status at the UN, could ask for the General Assembly to vote to upgrade them to a non-member state which would allow them membership of a number of U.N. agencies.

The General Assembly vote requires only a simple majority of the current 193 member nations, seemingly an easy proposition for the Palestinians.

In his speech to the General Assembly on Friday after presenting the request, Abbas said: “I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application ... and our admission as an independent state.”

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke shortly after Abbas, said peace could be achieved only through negotiations and dismissed the world body as a “theatre of the absurd.”

Abbas accepts negotiations are still necessary, but argues statehood will put Palestinians on a more equal footing. Israel sees the UN bid as an attempt to erode its own legitimacy.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the Gaza Strip, a coastal enclave controlled by Islamist Hamas who are opposed to peace talks, and in the West Bank with East Jerusalem as the capital, land Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East War.
 

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • ed

    Mahmoud ,
    You have a big brother who educated in UK which interested
    mining resources branchs.
    I think one of your problems is to have cheek by jowl connections
    with Pakistan.

    Sep 25th, 2011 - 10:20 am 0
  • GeoffWard2

    There are TWO 'Palestines', each with their own problems, political persuasions and armed forces - at each others throats in the struggle for overall power, and, separately, attacking Israel.

    Statehood can only come through negotiated agreement - the Peace Talks - with Israel, who, in 1967, reinforced control over the region having won the war against the massed forces of the Arab Middle East.

    Statehood of the two warring Arab factions cannot come by UN decree, and the UNSC will continue to be forced to recognise that the first prerequisite towards statehood is *recognition by all parties of the right of Israel to exist, and exist in peace*

    If the two 'Palestinian' factions can not agree to this, there will be no Palestine - ever.

    Sep 25th, 2011 - 02:24 pm 0
  • Conqueror

    “Palestine” as a country doesn't exist. And never has. These so-called “palestinians” are just rag-tag arabs who refused to go where they were supposed to go. Jordan. All these years of warfare and terrorism and they could have been living happy, peaceful, productive lives in Jordan. Just shows you where muslim extremism and hatred can get you.

    Sep 25th, 2011 - 07:37 pm 0
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