Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Palestinians backtrack on September 27 bid for UN upgrade

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is to decide the date after meeting the Arab League in Cairo.

RAMALLAH // Palestinian officials appeared to backtrack yesterday on a pledge to make a fresh bid for upgraded UN membership on September 27.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, said the date would be decided next week when Mr Abbas meets the Arab League in Cairo.

"The president will have Palestinian, Arab and international consultations to set a date for the UN bid to present the request for non-member state status for Palestine," he said.

"After the Tehran summit, the president will go to Cairo to attend the Arab League follow-up committee meeting on September 5 and 6 which will set a date for the Palestinian bid seeking a status upgrade to non-member state."

Mr Abbas was Thursday at a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran where members are expected to vote on a political declaration endorsing Palestinian plans for upgrading their status from observer entity to a non-member observer state.

Last September, Mr Abbas made a high-profile effort to obtain full member status for Palestine at the UN, but the request was never put to a vote in the Security Council where the United States had pledged to veto it.

On August 4, the Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad Al Malki, had said Mr Abbas would make the upgrade request on September 27 during the UN General Assembly.

"In the upcoming session of the General Assembly next month, President Abbas will speak about this on the 27th. 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 told reporters.

"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.

Nimr Hammad, a political adviser to Mr Abbas, said the UN upgrade request would definitely go ahead, but confirmed the date would only be set "in the upcoming weeks".

"The decision to go to the UN has been made by the Palestinian leadership and is no longer up for discussion. The date will be set in the upcoming weeks based on whatever serves Palestinian interests," he said.

"We want to ensure the largest international support for the decision and also ensure the voting would be in favour."

Several weeks ago, a high-ranking official from the Palestine Liberation Organisation said Washington was pressuring the Palestinian leadership to delay its upgrade plans until after the US elections in November.

Saeb Erakat, the main Palestinian negotiator, also confirmed there was no date set for the application, but said the Palestinians would submit a draft resolution to the General Assembly which was likely to win support from "more than half" of the 193 member states.

"More than two-thirds of the General Assembly states already recognise us officially as the state of Palestine, and if the vote succeeds, Palestine will officially become a non-member state at the UN," he said.

"According to international law, we will be classified as a state recognised by the United Nations, but not a (full) member state as that requires a Security Council resolution."

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 A view of a defaced portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally on the 102nd birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in central Seoul. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Best photography from around the world, April 15

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National