Nations: The Palestinians’ push for upgraded status at
the United Nations is likely to succeed, the president of the U.N.
General Assembly said on Friday, while warning the United States
against cutting U.N. funding over the issue, reported news agency
Having failed last year to secure full U.N. membership due to U.S.
opposition, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last month he
would ask the 193-nation General Assembly to approve a less
ambitious promotion of the Palestinian Authority's observer status
to “non-member state,” like the Vatican. It is currently
considered an “entity.”
Vuk Jeremic, the Serbian president of the General Assembly, said
Abbas was consulting with U.N. member states and was expected to
call for a meeting on the Palestinian issue as early as next
month, shortly after the Nov. 6 U.S. presidential election,
according to Reuters.
“Most people expect that it is going to be the second half of
November,” the 37-year-old former Serbian foreign minister told
Reuters in an interview.
“If they decide to go for it after these consultations, which is
what President Abbas announced in his speech in September, most
people expect that this is going to pass.”
The United States and Israel have warned the Palestinians against
seeking a status upgrade, suggesting that it could have financial
implications for the Palestinian Authority.
U.N. diplomats and officials say they are also worried about a
possible reduction of U.N. funding from the United States, which
supplies 22 percent of the regular U.N. budget.
Jeremic said he did not want to lecture Washington, but voiced
concern about a possible suspension U.N. funding due to the
Palestinian issue, which he said would have “dire financial
implications” for the United Nations.
“I don’t think this would be in the interests of the United States
to cut the financial aid, but I am not in a position to say to the
United States what is it they should do,” he said. “They know what
is best for them, and that's what they are going to do.”
The U.S. Congress froze some $200 million in much-needed financial
aid to the Palestinians after they took their statehood campaign
to the United Nations last year. Western officials say further aid
reductions are likely, along with a possible freezing of U.N.
The United States cut funding to the U.N. education and science
agency, UNESCO, last year after it admitted the Palestinians as a
A 1990s U.S. law prohibits U.S. funding to U.N. organizations that
grant full membership to any group that does not have
“internationally recognized attributes” of statehood.
Jeremic stressed that the Palestinians were not seeking U.N.
membership, but to be recognized as a “non-member state.”
Such an upgrade could nevertheless be uncomfortable for Israel.
Being registered as a state rather than an entity would mean the
Palestinians could join bodies such as the International Criminal
Court and file complaints against Israel for its continued
The Palestinians need a simple majority for the upgrade, but
predict that between 150 and 170 nations out of the 193 U.N.
member states will vote in favor, Reuters said in its report