PA expects UNESCO vote to boost UN statehood bid

Malki says Palestinian Authority expects to get number of votes required to join UN's cultural agency; vows PA will go ahead despite US opposition.

Riad Malki 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman )
Riad Malki 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman )
The Palestinian Authority expects to win full membership of the UN's cultural agency UNESCO on Monday in a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Sunday.
UNESCO is the first UN agency the Palestinians have sought to join as a full member since Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on Sept. 23.
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"I expect that the voting will happen and that Palestine will get the number of votes required for membership," Maliki told Reuters.
UNESCO is one of the UN agencies the Palestinians can join as a full member regardless of their broader status at the United Nations, where they are currently classified as "an observer entity".
"This success, if it is realized, and with this large number of votes, will give a great boost to the efforts that we are making to get the required vote in the United Nations," Malki said in separate remarks to Voice of Palestine radio.
Palestinian Authority success could bring a financial cost for UNESCO. Under US law, the Palestinian Authority's admission as a full UNESCO member would trigger a cutoff in US funding which accounts for 22 percent of the agency's funding.
Malki said US officials cited the threat to UNESCO funding while seeking to dissuade the Palestinians from proceeding with their bid for membership.
"We made clear to them that any proposal must be based on a fundamental point: The acceptance of the membership of the state of Palestine in UNESCO," Malki said, signaling the Palestinian determination to go ahead regardless.