Palestine U.N. membership a debate for Council in July

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 05, 2011 10:29 PM
Palestine U.N. membership a debate for Council in July

By Megan Davies

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council plans to discuss in July the possibility of Palestine becoming a United Nations member state, the Security Council president said on Tuesday.

The Arab League has said it would request U.N. membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital at the U.N. General Assembly in September.

An open debate on the Middle East has been scheduled for July 26 according to a provisional calendar for the Security Council for July.

"I think (that) will be an occasion to explore the various options that might exist on the Palestinian side," said German Ambassador Peter Wittig, U.N. Security Council president, in response to a question about when the issue would be debated. Germany holds the Security Council presidency in July.

Wittig pointed to an upcoming Quartet meeting as a possible indicator on the situation.

The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- are expected to meet on July 11. The meeting, expected to take place in Washington, will come amid a U.S. push to revive peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Separately, a spokesman for U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said he could not give a firm date as to when the much-delayed findings from a panel set up to investigate the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident would be released.

"I don't think we are yet at the point where the report would be handed over - when that happens obviously we'll let you know," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Last August, Ban appointed a panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer to investigate last year's Israeli attack on an aid convoy bound for Gaza.

(Editing by Jackie Frank)