Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eight of 15 Security Council members 'back Palestinian UN bid'

Eight out of the fifteen members of the UN Security Council are ready to support an independent Palestine joining the United Nations, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said on Thursday.

"We are working to ensure the ninth vote," he said in an interview with the Voice of Palestine radio, adding this "will guarantee the satisfaction of the Palestinian [statehood] bid."

"We have to options: to persuade either Columbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina to vote for us," he said.

In order for a Palestinian state to be officially recognized by the UN, nine out of the 15 Security Council members should back the Palestinian bid - and none of the Council's permanent members should be opposed to it. But the United States has already said it will veto any statehood resolution.

Russia and China - two of the Security Council's permanent members with veto rights - as well as India, South Africa, Brazil, Lebanon, Nigeria and Gabon are ready to vote to accept the state of Palestine to the United Nations, al-Maliki said.

A special UN Security Council committee will gather on Friday for the first time to consider the Palestinian statehood bid, handed over to the United Nations by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week.

Israel and the United States have expressed strong opposition to the "unilateral" move, which they say would jeopardize any future peace talks, and urged the Palestinians to immediately return to the negotiating table.

In case of a US veto, the Palestinians can still ask the General Assembly to elevate their UN status from an observer to a "non-state member," which some analysts say would enable them to challenge the continuing construction of Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian land in the International Criminal Court. A total of 131 UN member states, making up more than two-thirds of the organization's members, have recognized an independent Palestinian state.

The settlement construction issue has been cited by Palestinians as the main obstacle to resuming peace talks with Israel.

World | RIA Novosti