'UK to abstain at UNSC vote on Palestinian state'

"In common with France, our European partners, UK will abstain on any vote on full Palestinian membership of the UN," Hague says.

November 9, 2011 15:06
2 minute read.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague [file]

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina)

Britain would abstain in any United Nations Security Council vote on full Palestinian membership of the UN, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday.

The UK is one of 15 nations on the Security Council that is debating whether or not to grant a Palestinian state full membership.

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"In common with France, and in consultation with our European partners, the United Kintdom will abstain on any vote on full Palestinian membership of the UN," Hague told parliament just days after France announced that it too would abstain on the matter.

"We reserve the right to recognize a Palestinian state bilaterally at a moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace," he added.

A UN Security Council subcommittee is expected to submit a full report on the Palestinian statehood request to the UN Security Council on Friday.

Since the Palestinians need the support of nine Security Council members for their request to be approved, an abstention is the equivalent of a vote against the Palestinian bid.

Israel assumes that Germany, Portugal and Colombia have told the Security Council that they will oppose the membership application, mostly likely in the form of an abstention.

The US plans to oppose the measure.

Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa, Russia and China are expected to support the Palestinians. The position of Nigeria, Gabon, Bosnia and Herzegovina are unclear.

Should all nine of those countries support the Palestinians, the US – one of five Security Council members with veto power – has promised to use that veto to squash the measure.

But Palestinians have pressed forward, despite the US-veto threat, in the hope that a strong show of support would stand as one more sign that they had the backing of the international community for unilateral recognition of statehood without a treaty with Israel, even if they failed to attain UN membership.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.

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