GA president: Council veto would block Palestinian UN bid

Deiss says that if US uses its veto, the General Assembly would be unable to bote on UN membership for a Palestinian state.

June 1, 2011 01:23
2 minute read.
The United Nations Security Council [file]

UN Security Council_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

NEW YORK – Last Friday, UN General Assembly president Joseph Deiss said that if any permanent Security Council member, such as the United States, used its veto power, the General Assembly would not be able to vote on UN membership for a Palestinian state.

Deiss’s statement was the latest in the public and private examination of whether a Palestinian state can be created by vote at the General Assembly’s annual meeting in September.

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US President Barack Obama, while not stating as much explicitly, has said that a Palestinian state will not be created by a vote at the United Nations. Many parties have interpreted the president’s statement as an indication that the US would veto a Security Council resolution recommending Palestinian membership in the UN.

On National Public Radio, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, referencing Obama’s speech, said: “What the president said was very clear, and that is that you cannot create the reality of a state without the critical prior step of direct negotiations between the two parties.

Those critical issues of borders, of security, of Jerusalem, of refugees, which are so emotional, can only be resolved in a lasting way. And two states can only be created through direct negotiations, and there’s no shortcut to that.

There’s no effective way to bypass it and the United States has been very clear on that and remains very clear on that.”

When Deiss was asked at a news conference if there would be any way for the Palestinians to achieve UN membership through a vote if a Security Council resolution were to be vetoed, Deiss responded, “No. No.”

Requirements for UN membership are laid out by the UN Charter. A state must fill out an application stating adherence to the charter, after which the Security Council is required to make a recommendation requiring nine votes of yes, with no veto exercised by a permanent member. After the Security Council recommendation, the General Assembly can then vote on membership. Two-thirds approval of the General Assembly is required for a state to be admitted to the UN.

A total of 112 nations have already formally recognized “Palestine,” but the UN membership process goes along a different procedural track – one that international law experts, including many Israelis, are seeking to derail.

Last week, a group of international law experts contacted UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon about the Palestinian bid for UN recognition via the General Assembly, and said that UN recognition would be contrary to international law.

The lawyers asked that the secretary- general appeal to the General Assembly to prevent the adoption of a Palestinian state resolution, because such a resolution would contradict agreements signed between Israel and the PLO in the Oslo Accords.

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