Palestinian envoy studies UNESCO vote

Nov. 4, 2011 at 8:01 AM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The top Palestinian envoy to the United Nations said he was studying how countries voted to admit the territory to UNESCO to help gauge a possible U.N. vote.

"There are many interesting, you know, patterns of votes," Riyad Mansour said. "For example, there were 11 countries -- member states of European Union -- that have voted 'yes.'"

In response to Monday's UNESCO vote, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered his country Thursday to freeze its $2 million contribution to the U.N. unit, saying its acceptance of the Palestinians was detrimental to potential peace talks, CNN reported.

"Such steps will not advance peace; they will only push it further away," Netanyahu said. "The only way to reach peace is through direct negotiations without pre-conditions."

On Monday, the United States froze its $60 million payment to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The U.S. government said it opposes what it calls unilateral moves to establish a Palestinian state, saying they contradict efforts to restart direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution to their long-running conflict.

Noting that Israel's application for U.N. membership in 1948 was first rejected by the Security Council, Mansour said Palestinians would press on with their bid despite opposition from the United States and some European countries.

"We are not the first country, nor the last country, that we do not prevail for the first time," he said. "If Palestine has to do it this way, that's our destiny."

A special U.N. Security Council committee will issue a formal report to the full council Nov. 11.

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