UN General Assembly grants upgraded status for Palestine

Friday, November 30, 2012

United Nations - The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to grant an upgrade of Palestine's status from "entity" to "non-member state", which is an implicit and symbolic recognition of Palestine's statehood at the UN.

The 193 UN member states voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, to support a draft resolution co-sponsored by about 70 countries, including China, Algeria, Angola, Brazil, Cuba, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan,Peru, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Tajikistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Countries like are Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, US and Panama voted against the draft resolution.

Countries such as Albania, Barbados, Bosnia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Togo and other 30 countries abstained from voting.

After Vuk Jeremic, president of the 67th session of the General Assembly, announced the result of the vote, applause came from the hall of the General Assembly. Many ambassadors and diplomats came to shake hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express their congratulations.

"An important vote has taken place today in the General Assembly," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the General Assembly after the vote. 

"The decision by the General Assembly to accord Palestine Non-member Observer State status in the United Nations was a prerogative of the member states.

"I stand ready to fulfil my role and report to this Assembly as requested in the resolution."

Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, Sudan's permanent representative to the United Nations, introduced the draft resolution to the General Assembly on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

"I call on every country to contribute to make the history and pave the way for the future by voting for the draft resolution," he said. 

The resolution "reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967."

The General Assembly "decides to accord to Palestine Non-member Observer State status in the United Nations, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestinian people," said the resolution.

The General Assembly "expresses the hope that the Security Council will consider favourably the application submitted on 23 September 2011 by the State of Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations," it added.

The General Assembly also expressed the urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process based on the relevant United Nations resolutions.

Peace talks between Israel and Palestine came to a halt in 2010 over the former's increasing construction in the West Bank settlements, which were condemned by the Palestinians, the international community and the Israeli centre-left wing.

The Palestinians have demanded in the past to freeze the construction in the settlements before resuming peace talks.

Palestine's new UN bid is watered down compared to the full membership proposal that Abbas presented in September 2011.This time it aims to ask the 193-member General Assembly to change the status to a non-member state.

Shortly before the vote, Abbas asked the UN body to "issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine".

On Thursday, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which recognised the need to establish a Jewish state alongside an Arab state in the former British Mandate territory of Palestine. -SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua

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