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Abbas: Full U.N. membership is sole focus

Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president, holds up the letter he presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking for Palestinian statehood as he addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN on September 23, 2011 in New York City. Abbas is asking the UN to recognize Palestinian statehood, against the wishes of the US and Israel. UPI/Monika Graff
Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president, holds up the letter he presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking for Palestinian statehood as he addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN on September 23, 2011 in New York City. Abbas is asking the UN to recognize Palestinian statehood, against the wishes of the US and Israel. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Palestinian officials said Thursday they will put their sole focus on full U.N. recognition and not petition other agencies after gaining UNESCO membership.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki, speaking in Ramallah, West Bank, said Thursday President Mahmoud Abbas instructed him not to seek membership in any other U.N. agencies after the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization granted Palestinian membership Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Abbas wants the PA to focus exclusively on full U.N. membership, Malki said.

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However, Malki said applications that have already been submitted, including to the World Trade Organization, will not be withdrawn.

The United States announced it would halt funding for UNESCO immediately after its vote Monday.

"We never felt responsible for the blackmail by the U.S. to cut UNESCO funds," Malki said. "We should not get the blame; the U.S. should be blamed. … If we succeed, membership in all other organizations will automatically follow. At this time, we are not interested in asking for becoming a member in the other U.N. agencies."

The U.N. Security Council is expected to discuss the Palestinian application for full membership next week, the Times said.

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