Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Palestinian Authority's UN membership bid

Palestinian officials announced on Tuesday that they had enlisted the support of six, or possibly seven, members of the UN Security Council to support their bid for UN recognition as a sovereign state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that he will submit his member application to the Security Council immediately after his address to the General Assembly on Friday. Palestinian diplomats have been working feverishly to secure the votes of nine member states, despite the fact that the US has already made clear it will veto the proposal. Washington has indicated it wants to avoid using its veto, therefore avoiding a situation where they appear to have single-handedly rejected the Palestinian bid, and so American diplomats have been working to create a blocking coalition of seven votes. Abbas has been under pressure from European governments to submit his bid to the General Assembly, which can only issue recommendations, rather than to the Security Council.
As of Tuesday afternoon only the United States, Germany and Columbia (which receives American financial support to fight rebels and drug lords) have announced that they will vote against the proposal. The positions of France and Britain remain unclear. Abbas has made clear that he has won the support of Gabon, and is currently negotiating with Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Israeli premiere Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in US and has called on President Abbas to open direct negotiations in New York. However Abbas has conditioned negotiations on an Israeli construction freeze in occupied territory, and therefore has agreed to meet Netanyahu for protocol purposes only, not to relaunch negotiations.
A poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Search interviewed 1,200 Palestinians and concluded that 83% of Palestinians support Abbas’ bid.

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