Experts to meet Friday on Palestinian UN bid

AP News
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Posted: Oct 04, 2011 5:29 PM
Experts to meet Friday on Palestinian UN bid

The Security Council is moving ahead with its review of the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership while Mideast mediators are preparing a fresh attempt to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

The action on two fronts follows Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' application on Sept. 23 to become the 194th member of the United Nations, a move strongly opposed by Israel and the United States, which has threatened to veto it.

Nigeria's U.N. Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, the council president for October, told reporters that experts on the council committee reviewing the Palestinian application will meet Friday for the first time.

Over the weekend, Mideast mediators from the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia _ known as the Quartet _ will meet in Brussels, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. They have been trying to revive long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The Palestinians sought U.N. recognition as peace negotiating efforts have foundered over Israel's refusal to stop building settlements on occupied land. But the Quartet has not given up on trying to get the two sides together.

Immediately after Abbas' speech to the U.N. General Assembly, the Quartet released a statement calling for resumed negotiations in a month and a final peace settlement by the end of 2012.

Nigeria's Ogwu told reporters Tuesday that the U.N. experts, from all 15 council nations, will meet "in a transparent manner" and "at a rational pace."

"I want to assure you that we will neither be stalled nor be stampeded," she said.

Ogwu said she will monitor the meetings and keep the council informed.

In order for a state to become a U.N. member, its application must be recommended by the Security Council and then approved by the General Assembly by a two-thirds vote of its 193 members.

The Palestinians know they face a veto in the Security Council, but they have been trying to get the required minimum of nine "yes" votes to show their international support.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said last Thursday that his delegation has secured eight votes in favor.

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Associated Press Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Washington