Palestinians to push for UN membership Nov. 11

AP News
Posted: Oct 20, 2011 12:55 PM
Palestinians to push for UN membership Nov. 11

Palestinian diplomats are trying to muster support for a U.N. Security Council vote in New York on Nov. 11 on their bid for membership in the global body, a senior Palestinian official said Thursday.

U.N. diplomats said earlier this week that a Security Council committee considering the membership bid would deliver a report on that day, and that ambassadors would then decide on the next steps.

Any member of the Security Council can request a vote on the Palestinian request, but a resolution recommending membership requires a minimum of nine "yes" votes and no veto by one of the council's five permanent members _ Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.

Once the 15-member Security Council recommends a country's membership its application must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the 193-member General Assembly.

Washington, Israel's closest ally, has already pledged to use its veto if Palestinian membership gets the support of nine or more council members.

"We still have time until Nov. 11, so there is a lot of efforts pushing certain countries to voting in favor," the Palestinian envoy to the U.N. in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, told The Associated Press.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told reporters in late September that the membership bid has support so far from eight Security Council members: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Lebanon, Nigeria and Gabon. He said the Palestinians are lobbying for more votes, including from Bosnia and Colombia.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Colombia on Oct. 11 and was told by President Juan Manuel Santos that Colombia will only recognize a Palestinian state that has been established through negotiations with Israel, which leaves Bosnia as the likely key to a ninth "yes" vote.

Khraishi said "several parties are working" to secure the votes, but declined to elaborate. "I think that we will succeed to get the nine," he added.

Elections to replace five nonpermanent members of the Security Council on Friday could create a grouping even less likely to approve the Palestinians' bid, if it rolls over into the new year.

Winners will take their posts Jan. 1. Strong Palestinian backers Brazil and Lebanon, along with Nigeria and Gabon, will be leaving the council at the same time.

Guatemala, running unopposed for the lone Latin America seat, has never recognized a Palestinian state. Neither has Slovenia, one of three candidates for the East European seat being vacated by Bosnia.

The rest of the candidates have all recognized a Palestinian state: Togo, Mauritania, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Pakistan and Kyrgystan.

"The addition of Guatemala and the subtraction of Brazil would make it a bit more difficult" to get statehood approved, if the vote is held over, said Warren Hoge, senior adviser for external relations at the International Peace Institute, a New York think tank.

Abbas delivered the Palestinian application to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23. Hours later, the Quartet of Mideast mediators _ the U.S., U.N., EU and Russia _ called for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in a month, with the goal of a peace agreement by the end of 2012.

The Israelis and Palestinians are scheduled to meet separately with the Quartet on Tuesday.


Edith M. Lederer and Anita Snow contributed to this report from the United Nations.


Frank Jordans can be reached at