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UNITED NATIONS - The Palestinians cannot circumvent the UN Security Council to avoid a likely US veto if they try to join the United Nations as a sovereign state later this year, a top UN official said on Friday.
But the official made clear a US veto would not put the issue of Palestinian statehood and UN membership to rest.
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Some Arab diplomats in New York have suggested it would be possible for the Palestinians to bypass the UN Security Council and go straight to the 192-nation General Assembly to win approval for a planned UN membership application.
The UN charter says that new members are admitted by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the 15-nation Security Council, where the United Sates, Britain, France, China and Russia are permanent members with veto powers.
The current president of the General Assembly, Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, was asked by reporters if there was a way for the Palestinians to become a UN member state if its application was vetoed by the United States, which opposes the idea. Deiss said, "No."
He added that the issue would not go away.
"If there is a large number of member states who recognize the statehood of Palestine -- and in addition in our (General Assembly) resolution of 1947, it's already said that there should be an Arab state or a Palestinian state -- (these) are elements that you have to take into consideration," he said.
"It's really up to the member states to make this decision and the rules are given," he said, adding that the permanent Security Council members have the right to wield their veto.
Egypt's UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said last week that 112 countries now recognize a sovereign Palestinian state and more are expected to recognize it in the coming months.
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