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US Vetoes Palestinian Request For Full UN Membership



US Vetoes Palestinian Request For Full UN Membership

The US has vetoed a Palestinian request to the United Nations security council for full UN membership, blocking the world body’s recognition of a Palestinian state.

The vote in the 15-member security council was 12 in favor, the US opposed and two abstentions, the UK and Switzerland.

US officials had been hoping Washington could avoid use of its veto if other states objected to a draft resolution before the council recommending the “State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations”.

Before the vote, diplomats said the US mission had been trying to convince one or two other council members to abstain, to mitigate Washington’s isolation on the issue, but American officials said they were resigned to having to wield the US veto once more in support of Israel.

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Washington’s position is that the emergence of a Palestinian state had to be the outcome of negotiations on all aspects of a Middle East peace settlement.

“The United States continues to strongly support a two-state solution. This vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood, but instead is an acknowledgment that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties,” deputy US ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, told the council.

The decision to veto the request drew rebukes from across the region. The Palestinian presidency condemned the US veto as “unfair, unethical and unjustified”, while the Egyptian foreign ministry said it regretted the inability of the security council to enable full Palestinian membership.

Hamas said it strongly condemned America’s position.

Explaining the UK abstention, the British envoy to the UN, Barbara Woodward, said: “We believe that such recognition of Palestinian statehood should not come at the start of a new process, but it doesn’t have to be at the very end of the process.”

Woodward added: “We must start with fixing the immediate crisis in Gaza.”

Israel’s foreign minister said he commended the US for casting the veto, adding that “terrorism will not be rewarded”.

Palestinians currently have non-member observer status, granted by the UN general assembly in 2012. An application to become a full member with voting rights would have to be approved by the security council and two-thirds of the general assembly.



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