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Eight in Security Council back Palestinian bid

Sept. 30, 2011 at 4:30 AM   |   Comments

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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The Palestinian leadership has pledges for eight Security Council votes for its U.N. membership bid, a vote short of the nine needed, its foreign minister said.

The Palestinian National Authority has received assurances of "yes" votes from China, Russia, India, Lebanon, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon, Riyad al-Malki said Thursday from the authority's headquarters in Ramallah, West Bank.

"We are working on Bosnia, Colombia and Portugal," he told reporters, adding he was scheduled to visit Bosnia shortly.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas -- who submitted the request a week ago, shortly before delivering an address to the annual General Assembly urging its members' support for the bid -- will make stops in Colombia, Portugal, Honduras and the Dominican Republic in October, Malki said.

Honduras and the Dominican Republic are not current council members. Current council members also include permanent members Britain and France, as well as Germany, a member through next year.

Washington has pledged to use its veto to block the request if nine of the 15 Security Council members vote in favor. Even if that happens, the Palestinians hope they can at least claim a diplomatic victory by securing a majority in the Security Council, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported.

After closed-door debate Monday, the Security Council Wednesday referred the Palestinian Authority's request to a committee set to meet Friday.

Riyad Mansour, the permanent Palestinian U.N. observer, told reporters he hoped the Security Council would quickly take "positive action" on the application.

The review typically lasts 35 days at most, but the limit could be waived and the deliberation process could last weeks longer in the Palestinian case, Politico reported.

Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said a viable Palestinian state could be achieved only through direct talks with no preconditions.

"Let's go back without shortcuts to direct negotiations," he told reporters. "That's the only way one can move forward to a substantial peace."

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