Britain may support Palestine's UN bid despite US block

Published November 28th, 2012 - 09:10 GMT
Ambassador Riyad Mansour, of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, prepares to hold a press conference at the UN today in New York City. (AFP)
Ambassador Riyad Mansour, of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, prepares to hold a press conference at the UN today in New York City. (AFP)

Britain has signalled that it is prepared to support Palestine’s bid for membership of the United Nations if some key amendments are made to the application.

Palestine is attempting to upgrade its membership from “permanent observer” to “Non-observer status”. Should the vote pass, Palestine will have the same rights as Vatican City.

Non-member states are recognised as sovereign states and from there they can submit to become full-members.

Britain has said that it will support the bid as long as Palestine drops the option to pursue Israel over claims of war crimes by not applying to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

Palestinian diplomats have said that they will not leave out the parts of the bid refering to the ICC and ICJ, as they wish to use membership of the institutions as a bargaining tool in later talks.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian authority, will discuss the application later this week at the UN General Assembly. While France, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, has come out in support of Palestine, the United States has already signalled that it will attempt to block the bid.

Victoria Nuland, US spokesperson for the Department for Defense, said, “We disagree with our oldest allies [the French] on the topic, and they know it. But it's their choice how to move forward”.

Nuland added that the only way for the  two-state solution to work is if Israel and Palestine first commit to peace talks. She indicated that the US would vote ‘no’ in the assembly.


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