Palestinians eye UN membership vote in April

International

UNITED NATIONS: The Palestinian delegation to the United Nations is pushing for a vote to be recognized as a full member state next month, Ambassador Riyad Mansour has said, a move opposed by the United States.

“We are seeking admission. That is our natural and legal right,” Mansour said, adding that he was pushing for an April 18 vote at the Security Council.

“Everyone is saying ‘two-state solution,’ then what is the logic of denying us to become a member state?” he added.

Any request to become a U.N. member state must first pass a vote by the Security Council – where Israel’s ally the United States and four other countries wield vetoes – and then be endorsed by a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas originally launched the statehood application in 2011. It was not considered by the Security Council, but the General Assembly the following year granted a more limited observer status to the “State of Palestine.”

The Palestinian Authority submitted a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asking for the Security Council to reconsider on April 2.

Mansour’s comments came as the United States earlier on April 3 voiced its opposition for full Palestinian membership, saying it backed statehood but after negotiations with Israel.

“We support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

“That is something that should be done through direct negotiations through the parties, something we are pursuing at this time, and not at the United Nations,” he said, without explicitly saying that the United States would veto the bid if it reaches the Security Council.

Miller said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been actively engaged in establishing “security guarantees” for Israel as part of the groundwork for a Palestinian state.__Daily Hurriyet