Ban Ki-Moon 311 Reuters.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday warned that Israel and the Palestinians were on a "collision course" as the two sides face-off over the Palestinian Authority's gambit to be admitted as a full member in the United Nations.
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"Now is the time for all sides to exercise restraint so as to step back from the collision course,” a UN spokesman quoted Ban as saying while at the G20 summit in Cannes, France.
The French foreign ministry said on Friday that France would abstain in a vote on a Palestinian request for full membership of the United Nations,
While France regarded the quest for Palestinian statehood as legitimate, the request for full UN membership had no chance of being accepted, notably because of US opposition, the ministry said in an electronic media briefing.
"That is why, during a (UN) admissions committee meeting, France's
permanent representative at the United Nations said France would have no
choice but to abstain in the Security Council," it said.
A vote was possible any time from Nov. 11 onwards, it said.
The ministry reiterated a French proposal that observer status be
granted as an intermediary response and urging the pursuit of peace
talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
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France was among the countries that voted last Monday to grant the
Palestinians full membership of the United Nations cultural agency,
UNESCO, based in Paris.
The Palestinians had gone to UNESCO as a first step in their quest for
statehood recognition in the over-arching UN system in September, which
the Palestinians formally requested in September.
On Thursday, diplomats assembled at the G20 summit meeting in Cannes had suggested
that several countries, including France, would abstain in a vote on that request.
The Palestinians' foreign minister said on Thursday that they will not
accept anything less than full UN membership and do not want an upgrade
to an observer state in the world body.
The Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the UN system has drawn
fierce criticism and sanctions from the United States and from Israel,
which in 1967 captured territory the Palestinians now seek for an
Both the United States and Israel say the Palestinian push in the United
Nations is unilateral and an attempt to bypass peace talks, whose
resumption Abbas has conditioned on an Israeli freeze of settlement
activity in occupied territory.
The Palestinians say those negotiations have failed to bring them closer
to the independent state they seek in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and
the Gaza Strip, and that it's time try a different approach.
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