There is no consensus among the 15 Security Council nations on the Palestinian application for U.N. membership, according to a draft report summing up members' views circulated Tuesday.
The four-page report obtained by The Associated Press says the council is divided among those who support Palestinian membership, those who can't support it now and therefore would abstain, and those who believe the application doesn't meet the criteria for membership and oppose it.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki blamed the United States, Israel's closest ally, for pressuring council members "to dissuade them from voting for the Palestinian quest." And he told The Associated Press that the Palestinians would not be calling for an immediate vote on membership.
After reviewing the draft report, Portugal's U.N. Ambassador Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, the current Security Council president, concluded that the committee on admissions "was unable to make a unanimous recommendation to the Security Council."
The 15 council members, which comprise the admissions committee, were given the draft report to review and asked to propose any changes by late Wednesday.
"We are going to look at it ... to see whether we are going to amend it," France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said.
The full admissions committee is scheduled to meet Friday, and diplomats said it will likely approve the draft report and send it to the Security Council.
What happens next is unclear.
One of the Palestinian supporters on the council, most likely Lebanon or South Africa, could submit a resolution recommending Palestinian membership to be put to a vote in the council, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks on the application have been private.
For the resolution to be adopted by the council, it needs at least nine "yes" votes and must avoid a veto by any of the permanent members: U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France. The United States already has announced it will veto the resolution.
So far, the Palestinians have just eight "yes" votes lined up.
When the admissions committee met last Thursday, diplomats said China, Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa and Lebanon announced their support for Palestinian membership. France, Britain and Colombia announced they would abstain and the United States said it would oppose the Palestinian bid, diplomats said.
While Nigeria, Gabon, Germany and Portugal didn't announce a final position, diplomats said Nigeria and Gabon will likely vote "yes" and Germany and Portugal will abstain or vote "no." Bosnia said it was unable to make a statement because its three-member presidency is split on the issue which means it will most likely abstain, diplomats said.
Malki, speaking to the AP in the West Bank capital of Ramallah, said the Palestinians don't believe they could garner the necessary nine votes.
"We expected to get nine votes in the Security Council, but its clear now, with the U.S. counter effort and huge intervention, that we are not going to have these nine votes," Malki said.
He added: "We are not going to ask for voting on Nov. 11. We want to hear the positions. We are standing before a hard battle, as USA has recruited all of its capacities in order to foil us."
The draft report does not include the number or names of countries that would support, abstain, or oppose Palestinian membership.
It does summarize differing views in the council on the criteria for U.N. membership _ whether the Palestinians have a defined territory, are a peace-loving state, and are able and willing to fulfill the obligations in the U.N. Charter.
Some of those opposed to members cited the Islamic political party Hamas' de facto authority in the Gaza Strip and control over 40 percent of the Palestinian population, its refusal to renounce terrorism and violence, and its stated aim of destroying Israel.
The draft report said unnamed council members said "a negotiated solution remained the only option for a long-term sustainable peace."
That has been the position of the United States.
Associated Press Writer Mohammed Daraghmeh contributed to this report from Ramallah, West Bank.
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