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Abbas Requests Full U.N. Membership

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made his formal request to the Security Council on Friday for full membership in the United Nations, a request that, if granted, could lead to the official declaration of a Palestinian state.

As Abbas made his speech to the General Assembly, he was forced to pause several times to wait out standing ovations before continuing on.

“I do not believe anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission in the United Nations,” Abbas said. And yet the United States is expected to vote against granting Palestine a full membership, saying that direct negotiations with Israel are a more suitable avenue to independence and eventually peace. Votes of the five European members and two African members of the Security Council are still up in the air.

A vote is not expected to take place for at least a week. –BF

The New York Times:

The diplomatic wrangling at the United Nations is expected to take several weeks before the question of a vote arises.

Among the 15 members, some are expected to stay solidly in the Palestinian camp including Brazil, China, India, Lebanon, South Africa, and Russia. The United States is a solid vote against, and the five European members — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Britain, France, Germany, and Portugal — are all question marks. The positions of Colombia, Gabon and Nigeria are also not entirely clear.

The African Union supports membership, but it is not entirely clear if Gabon and Nigeria will go along. President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria did not mention the issue in his speech to the General Assembly, unlike many leaders from the developing world who support Palestine, and the statement by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, was somewhat enigmatic. He said he hoped to soon see a Palestinian state, but noted that both the Palestinians and the people of Israel are friends of Gabon.

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