Last updated: 8 August, 2012

US is pushing Palestinians to delay new UN bid

Washington is pressing the Palestinian leadership to delay a fresh bid to seek upgraded UN status until after the US elections, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

“There are pressures from the United States and some Arab parties to delay the voting until after the United States presidential elections, due in November,” PLO Executive Committee member Saleh Raafat told Voice of Palestine radio.

On Saturday, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said president Mahmud Abbas would on September 27 make a fresh request to upgrade the Palestinians’ UN status from that of an observer entity to a non-member state.

The request is to be made exactly a year after Abbas tried to obtain full member status. Despite his high-profile effort, the request was never put to a vote in the UN Security Council, where the United States had pledged to veto it.

“The Palestinian people have no option but to resort to popular resistance and turn to international agencies, particularly the United Nations Security Council and the UNGA, to apply for non-state membership,” Raafat told the radio station.

And he insisted the Palestinian leadership should press ahead with the bid next month, despite the pressures from the US and opposing Arab states.

“We should reject this demand and insist on heading to the UN in September,” he said.

Last month, Arab foreign ministers backed Palestinian plans to seek an upgrade to their status, but postponed a decision on when such a request would be made, saying it would be decided at their next meeting in Cairo on September 5.

“In the up-and-coming session of the General Assembly next month, President Abbas will speak about this on the 27th,” Malki said on Saturday.

“Palestine will apply immediately to the UN and the head of the General Assembly will be informed that Palestine wants to obtain non-member status,” he said.

“After that, we will begin communicating with all components of the General Assembly to talk about the appropriate date” for a vote on the issue.