Palestinians to seek full U.N. membership, says Abbas

Jade Chakowa, Friday 16 Sep 2011

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced in a speech that he will seek full state recognition at the UN General Assembly next week

Palestinian President Abbas greets supporters before he speaks during a televised speech in Ramallah (Reuters)

Palestinan President, Mahmoud Abbas, announced that he wants state recognition for Palestine along the 1967 lines so that talks with Israel can resume.

In his address in Ramallah, Abbas said that he was ‘taking a branch of olive in one hand’ by taking the statehood bid to the UN at the General Assembly next week.

Following weeks of uncertainty regarding whether Palestine would seek full UN membership or recognition as a non-member state, Abbas makes his position clear.

He stated that he would push for full UN membership, which requires going through the UN Security Council.

"We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organisation," Abbas said in a televised speech, indicating he would seek a vote on the issue in the UN Security Council.

‘‘We seek a state. Anything other than peaceful means will harm us’’ he said, referring to the option of seeking non-membership recognition.

‘’We face a very difficult and historic mission,’’ he added.  

The membership bid is seen by Abbas as a condition for negotiation with Israel, after the peace talks have come to a stalemate.

He argued that he was not trying to take away the legitimacy of Israel, as it is a recognised state. Instead he seeks to isolate Israel’s policies and question the legitimacy of its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The US and Israel are firmly opposed to such as move. The US has already stated that it will veto the statehood bid if it was placed before the Security Council.

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