Palestine to go ahead with UN statehood bid

Updated: 2011-09-23 22:53


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UNITED NATIONS - Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas appears determined to request full UN membership Friday morning, despite US threats to veto it in the Security Council and efforts to find a compromise.

Abbas is expected to present the formal Palestinian application letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a scheduled meeting at 11:35 am EDT (1535GMT) Friday.

Abbas, who is here to attend the annual debate of the UN General Assembly, is the 11th speaker at the 193-nation Assembly on Friday morning, according to the latest list of speakers provided by the UN.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is listed at 14.

The Isareli-Palestinian conflict, seen as a big test for international peace efforts, overwhelmed other matters here at UN Headquarters in New York as 193 member states gathered for the annual high-level debate.

A bid by the Palestinians for full membership of the UN would have to be referred to the 15-nation Security Council for ratification. However, if Abbas requests an upgrading of its current observer status to that of observing non-member state, a compromise being sought by the US, this would require approval only of the General Assembly.

The Palestinian statehood bid, though strongly opposed by Israel and its close ally the United States, enjoys great support from most UN members, who have voiced their endorsement in the General Assembly.

The US is scrambling with last-minute diplomacy to avoid a showdown in the Security Council, where it is a permanent member and has veto power.

The Middle East Quartet, which groups the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States, held talks Thursday and a new meeting is to be held Friday.

After addressing the General Assembly, Abbas would return home to discuss the next steps forward, diplomats here said.