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FACTDROP: U.N. Finds a Split On Palestinian Bid


U.N. Finds a Split On Palestinian Bid

A U.N. panel will tell the Security Council there isn't consensus on Mahmoud Abbas's bid for Palestinian U.N. membership.

Πηγή: WSJ
Nov 10 2011

UNITED NATIONS—A U.N. admissions committee has been unable to reach consensus on whether to grant full U.N. membership to the Palestinian Authority, which is now exploring other options within the international body for enhanced recognition.
Associated Press

A U.N. panel will tell the Security Council there isn't consensus on Mahmoud Abbas's bid for Palestinian U.N. membership.

The Palestinians don't appear able to secure the nine votes needed in the Security Council to approve their application, which was presented at the U.N. annual meetings in September by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against the wishes of the U.S. and Israel.

On Wednesday, Britain, a permanent member of the Security Council, said it would abstain from voting on the bid, following a similar declaration from France. The Palestinians had hoped for more support among the European members of the council in their quest for U.N. statehood.

The admissions committee will report its conclusion to the Security Council on Friday.

"Unless the Palestinians have an extra card in their pocket that they haven't shown until now, the expectation is that they will drop the bid," said a Security Council diplomat. "If you have the nine votes, you go for it. If you don't, you don't."

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki appeared to acknowledge this week that the votes weren't there. "We knew that the Security Council would not be a picnic," he told the Associated Press. "But the most important thing here is who is going to win in the final round. There will be other rounds, and we will never despair."

A Palestinian official couldn't be reached to comment on whether the Palestinians would withdraw the application or seek other avenues for wider U.N. recognition.

The Security Council bid is expected to have support from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, with the possibility of support from Gabon and Nigeria, bringing the total to eight votes at most, according to U.N. diplomats.

"You will not find a ninth vote," said another U.N. Security Council diplomat.

That would mean the U.S. wouldn't need to exercise a promised veto, enabling it to avoid a potential backlash among Arabs who see the Palestinian quest in the context of the recent uprisings sweeping the Arab world. The U.S. sees the U.N. bid as undermining efforts to kindle peace talks with Israel.

A possible next step for the Palestinians is to seek an upgrade in status—to a nonmember permanent observer state from a permanent-observer mission—in the General Assembly.

In such a vote, no country has a veto and only a simple majority is required for approval. Diplomats expect the Palestinians to have more than the necessary support, as more than 120 countries have bilaterally recognized Palestinian statehood.

The U.S. and Israel worry that if the Palestinians were to become a permanent observer state to the U.N. it would open the way to membership in U.N.-related agencies such as the International Criminal Court. There they could bring before the court charges against Israel stemming from altercations in recent years on Palestinian territory.

The Palestinians late last month were accepted by vote as full members in the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or Unesco, a step that prompted the U.S. to cease funding of the Paris group, in accordance with U.S. law.

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