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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Interpol approves membership for state of Palestine

'The State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands are now INTERPOL member countries,' a tweet from the international police organisation read

Delegates attend the 86th Interpol General Assembly at the Beijing National Convention Centre on September 27, 2017. Jason Lee / Reuters
Delegates attend the 86th Interpol General Assembly at the Beijing National Convention Centre on September 27, 2017. Jason Lee / Reuters

Palestine joined Interpol as a member state on Wednesday following a vote at the international police organisation's general assembly in Beijing, Interpol said on Twitter.

"The State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands are now INTERPOL member countries," the tweet read. The organisation didn't immediately announce how many members had voted in favour of Palestinian membership.

Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki hailed the vote as a "victory for law enforcement" and a "voice of confidence in the capacity of law enforcement in Palestine".

He promised to uphold Palestinian commitments to combating crime and strengthening the rule of law.

Israel had been trying to delay a vote on Palestinian membership until next year. Ahead of the vote, however, the Israeli foreign ministry announced that these efforts had failed.

In retaliation for the Palestinians joining Interpol, Zeev Elkin, Israeli minister of environmental protection and a close associate of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel should cancel gestures granted to the Palestinians, including work and entry permits and special travel permits for Palestinian leaders.

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Interpol, an international clearing house for arrest warrants and police co-operation against cross-border crime, now has 192 member countries.

Wednesday's vote comes after the United Nations General Assembly recognised Palestine as a non-member observer state in 2012 and Unesco as a full member in 2011.

The Palestinian prime minister applied for Interpol membership in 2015 and submitted a formal letter in July of this year, promising not to use the organisation "for any political, military, racial or religious interventions or activities". He also promised to co-operate with Interpol activities, according to minutes of the Interpol meeting in Beijing.

The Palestinians are now required to pay membership dues worth 0.03 per cent of the Interpol budget.