UN Security Council_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
A UN Security Council panel on admitting new members to the United
Nations met on Friday for the first time on the Palestinian bid to join
the world body as Palestinians lobbied council members for support.
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Some diplomats have suggested that the issue could stay in the committee
for weeks or months before it is passed back to the Security Council
for a vote. But the Palestinians have said they want the entire process
over within weeks.
After the closed-door meeting of the council's standing committee on
admitting new members, which comprises all 15 council members, Lebanese
UN Ambassador Nawaf Salam said the committee unanimously agreed to
continue meeting next week.
Salam has been the president of the
Security Council this month. Nigerian Ambassador Joy Ogwu took over the
chair on Saturday for the month of October, which means she will be
overseeing the standing committee's work.
Western diplomats on
the council say the Palestinian UN bid is doomed to failure due to US
opposition. But the chief Palestinian Authority delegate at the United
Nations, Riyad Mansour, reiterated his hope that the application would
not sit too long in the committee but would be swiftly approved by the
"They will start dealing with the details of things
related to our application," Mansour told reporters after the council
meeting. "We hope that the experts will deal with this part of the
exercise in a short period of time."
The initial meetings of the committee are being conducted by lower-level diplomats, or experts.
of what happens in New York we are intent on trying to get these
parties back to the table," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
said in Washington.
Several diplomats said the committee on
membership - unlike the full council - makes recommendations on the
basis of a simple majority vote and no countries have a veto.
means the Palestinians only need to persuade eight of the 15 council
members to support a committee recommendation that Palestine be admitted
as a member state.
When and if the issue leaves the committee
and goes back to the council for a vote, the United States will be in a
position to use its veto power to strike down the Palestinian
application, as Washington has vowed to do.
Security Council resolutions need nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the five permanent members to pass.
Palestinians, Western diplomats say, have only six certain votes on the
council. Those are the five "BRICS" nations - Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa - and Lebanon. Bosnia, Gabon and Nigeria are
"swing votes" on the council that could go either way, envoys say.
The three undecided council members are quickly becoming the focus of intense lobbying efforts by the Palestinians.
The Palestinians vowed last week to send high-level delegations to Bosnia, Gabon and Nigeria soon.