Abbas confirms he'll ask for full membership at UN

Despite growing pressure, PA president tells Palestinian-American leaders in NY that he's determined to present state bid request to UNSC.

September 23, 2011 09:52
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations

Abbas 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made it clear Friday that despite heavy international pressure, he is determined to present a request to the UN to be accepted as a full member after his speech at the General Assembly.

During a meeting with 200 Palestinian-American leaders,  Abbas said: "I have to tell you something important. I am under heavy pressure not to go to the UN but also I want to say that I will go to the Security Council and I have no intention to withdraw the request no matter what pressure there is."

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Israeli leftists demonstrate for PA statehood in TA
PA: Obama will be responsible for failure of peace

Abbas' comments came after Israeli diplomatic officials said on Thursday that fierce US resistance, as well as even some European opposition, could force him to jettison plans to bring his statehood bid either to the UN Security Council or the General Assembly anytime soon.

Abbas will reveal his hand during his much-anticipated speech to the General Assembly. During that speech he is expected to say he is going forward with a request to the Security Council for full UN membership, as he has said he would do; whether he would be satisfied with an upgrade for “Palestine” from observer to nonmember-state observer in the General Assembly; or whether he will pursue both initiatives.

According to the officials, a proposal floated by Quartet envoy Tony Blair and first reported last week in The Jerusalem Post would have Abbas submit a formal request, via Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, to the Security Council.

Ban, however, will not immediately pass the request on, giving the Quartet – the US, EU, Russia and UN – time to come up with a statement agreed upon by both sides that would form the parameters for relaunching negotiations.

The benefit of this proposal, the officials said, is that it would allow Abbas a face-saving way out of forcing a vote at the Security Council, since formally he will have done what he promised the Palestinians: Submit a request to the Security Council.

The question then would become whether he would go to the General Assembly seeking an upgrade.

While it is clear that the Palestinians would win a vote in the General Assembly by a large margin, since a simple majority would be all that was needed there, diplomatic officials said some European countries were pressing him to refrain from going to the General Assembly because it would split the EU at a time when it is trying to project an image of unity on key foreign-policy issues.
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