Abbas to tour for more support for statehood bid

Updated: 2011-09-30 21:12


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RAMALLAH - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will go on an international tour to muster more support for the Palestinian bid in the United Nations for statehood, a Palestinian newspaper reported Friday.

Palestinian minister of foreign affairs Reyad al-Malki told the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam Daily that Abbas will start his tour next week and will give a speech on October 6 to the European Council in Strasbourg.

"He will also visit on October 7 and October 8 Honduras and two members of the Security Council, Columbia and Portugal, to gain more support for a vote on the bid for a full membership of a Palestinian state," said al-Malki.

Abbas handed the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon a request on September 23 for a full UN membership of the Palestinian statehood and gave a historic speech to the UN General Assembly.

The Security Council has held two sessions this week to debate and study the Palestinian bid. On Thursday, the council members decided to refer the bid to the committee of memberships, which will convene next Friday.

"We already have eight members, who announced that they will vote in favor of the bid," said al-Malki, "We are working on convincing Columbia, Portugal and the Bosnia and Herzegovina to vote in favor."

The Palestinians need the support of at least nine Security Council members to secure that their request is admitted in the 15- member council. However, the foreign minister said earlier the United States has been putting political, economic and even military pressure on the Security Council's non-permanent members to prevent them from supporting the Palestinian move.

The United States, which wants the Palestinians to resume the peace talks with Israel instead of requesting a UN membership, also threatened to veto the request.

"We didn't decide to go to the Security Council in order to fail. We went to the UN because we are certain that we will be able to convince the world to support the Palestinian bid," said al-Malki.