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Palestinians must wait weeks for UN bid answer: Diplomats

Diplomats say a Security Council decision on Palestinian UN membership may take weeks pending international efforts to restart 'peace process'

AFP , Friday 30 Sep 2011
Members of the Mideast Quartet and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center, pose for a picture before a meeting about the Palestinian application for statehood during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Friday, Sept. 23, (AP).
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A UN Security Council decision on Palestinian membership in the United Nations will take several weeks, diplomats said Friday after the first meeting of a membership committee on the bid.

The international powers want to hold up any decision to give more chance to desperate efforts to get the Palestinians and Israelis back into direct talks, diplomats said.

Some "substantive" discussion of the Palestinian application was held Friday, but the committee mainly focused on how to handle the bid and only agreed to hold a new session next week, said Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

"There will be several meetings" before the committee makes a recommendation to the Security Council, France's UN envoy Gerard Araud told reporters.

"The whole process will take several weeks, and there is of course a link to the Quartet efforts," one Western diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a historic bid for UN membership on 23 September. But the United States has vowed to veto the application if it comes to a Security Council vote.

The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East - the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations - has launched a new bid to get direct talks resumed with a firm timetable for an accord.

Diplomats said the Palestinians were not pressing for an early decision, waiting to see how the Quartet efforts develop.

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