Palestinians ready for UN statehood bid in November

AFP , Wednesday 31 Oct 2012

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki says 15 and 29 November were possible dates for submission of a Palestinian bid to seek upgraded UN status

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki stated on Wednesday, "It is still premature to give a specific date," speaking on the official Voice of Palestine radio. He claimed that consultations with regional groups at the United Nations, including European countries, needed to be completed before the resolution on obtaining the rank of a non-member state could be drafted.

"There were many proposals of a specific date that could have a symbolic implication, including 15 November, the anniversary of the national independence declaration, and 29 November, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People," he said.

15 November, 1988 was the date on which the veteran Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat issued the declaration of independence during a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Algiers.

At the same session, the PNC endorsed a two-state solution with independent Israeli and Palestinian states coexisting alongside one another.

"I can assure you that November is going to be a crucial month in Palestinian history," Malki told the radio.

"Our status at the UN will be upgraded from a mission to a non-state member in a preliminary step to obtaining full membership after a debate in the UN Security Council that will certainly be reopened after November."

In September 2011, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas made a high-profile bid at the UN General Assembly for full-member status, which stalled before it was put to a vote in the Security Council where the United States had pledged to use its veto power.

At this year's annual UN gathering, Abbas said he would seek to obtain non-member state ranking by the end of 2012, in a move which would only require a simple majority in the 193-member General Assembly and is certain to pass easily.

Washington and Israel are both opposed to the move, with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak telling supporters in London that the Jewish state expected its friends to work against it.

"A provocative Palestinian bid to become a non-member state at the UN cannot replace direct negotiations without preconditions," his office quoted him as telling members of the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre.

"We strongly recommend that friendly governments oppose this campaign, while persuading the Palestinian Authority to get back to the negotiation table," he said at the meeting which took place on Tuesday.

Direct Israel-Palestinian negotiations have been frozen for more than two years, with Abbas refusing talks as long as Israel continues to build and approve new Jewish settlements.

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