We won’t accept less than state: Palestine
RAMALLAH / CANNES
The Palestinians will not accept anything less than full U.N. membership and do not want an upgrade to an observer state in the world body, their foreign minister said Nov. 3.
Riyad al-Malki’s remarks suggested the Palestinians would not seek such an upgrade once their bid for full state membership meets its widely expected fate -- failure due to opposition from the United States and other governments.
Malki told journalists in Ramallah the Palestinians could have won observer state status long ago and were not interested in it now. They currently hold the status of observer entity. “We do not want, after all of these struggles, sacrifices, and efforts by the entire Palestinian people, to accept an observer state in the United Nations. We will not accept less than we deserve: a full member state,” he said.
Abbas applied for full U.N. membership for the state of Palestine on Sept. 23. The request is now being considered by the Security Council, but the United States has already pledged veto it in the 15-nation body if it is brought to a vote.
Many U.N. diplomats believe the Palestinians would get only eight votes, and a meeting of council ambassadors Nov. 3 to review the issue produced no surprises, envoys said. They said Russia, China, Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa supported the Palestinian bid, the United States opposed it, and Britain, France and Colombia said they would abstain if there were a vote. Gabon and Nigeria, expected to support the Palestinians, and Germany and Portugal, expected to abstain, did not spell out their positions and Bosnia did not speak. Bosnia is also thought likely to abstain because its Muslim, Serb and Croat collective presidency cannot agree. U.S. President Barack Obama has appealed to Bosnia, a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, not to support the Palestinians’ demand to become a U.N. member, the presidency said Nov. 3.
The Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the U.N. system has drawn fierce criticism and sanctions from the United States and from Israel. The U.S. Congress has frozen some $200 million in economic aid to the Palestinian Authority over its statehood quest. Israel this week froze duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in response to its admission to the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also warned Nov. 3 that Palestinian efforts to join U.N. agencies beyond its cultural arm are “not beneficial for anybody” and could lead to cuts in funding sure to affect millions of people. In an Associated Press interview, the U.N. chief reiterated the world body’s support for a viable, independent Palestinian state, but lamented the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to join U.N. affiliates before the U.N. itself.
Compiled from Reuters, AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.