Ban: Palestinian statehood is for UN members to decide

UN chief reaffirms support for an independent Palestinian state; says US president Obama has set down a good framework for peace talks.

Ban Ki-Moon 311 Reuters (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ban Ki-Moon 311 Reuters
(photo credit: REUTERS)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed his support for an independent Palestinian state on Friday but said Palestinian UN membership was an issue for member states to decide.
The United States for the first time on Thursday said explicitly it would use its veto in the Security Council to stop any Palestinian bid for full UN membership if the matter went ahead at the next General Assembly, which opens on Sept. 19.
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Ban, winding up a trip to Australia and the South Pacific, said he strongly supported a two-state solution where Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side in peace and security.
"I support also the statehood of Palestinians, an independent sovereign state of Palestine. It has been long overdue," Ban told reporters in Canberra before he left Australia.
He said US President Barack Obama had set down a good framework for peace negotiations, but said it was up to the UN member states to decide on UN membership and recognition of a Palestinian state.
"So I leave it to the member states to decide whether to recognize or not recognize," he said.
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Representatives of various Palestinian factions on Thursday delivered a letter to Ban in support of accepting a Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, seemingly kicking off the PA’s September UN maneuver.
Palestinian Authority officials denied that the letter was an official request to the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines. They said that the factions decided to deliver the letter as part of a popular campaign in support of the statehood bid.