Official: Palestine Has 7 Votes in Security Council

Seven countries in the Security Council are committed to supporting Palestine’s bid for membership in the UN, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said Tuesday.

Malki told Voice of Palestine radio that Gabon, a non-permanent member, resolved to support the decision, according to Wafa, the official PA news agency based in Ramallah.

Malki added that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation pledged to talk to Turkey, Serbia, Nigeria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to guarantee the nine votes needed to recommend Palestine’s membership.

Security Council resolutions need nine votes from the 15-nation body to pass, but the United States has already said it will veto the measure, which would prevent its passage.

Malki told reporters in New York he was confident the Palestinians would muster nine votes.

"We’re working towards it (securing nine votes) and I think we’ll manage it," he said, after meeting his Venezuelan counterpart.

The foreign minister did not consider the US position as unchangeable.

"We hope the United States will revise its position and be on the side of the majority of nations or countries who want to support the Palestinian right to have self determination and independence."

President Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in New York ahead of his speech Friday before the General Assembly, after which Abbas says he will request full membership from the Security Council.

Israel and the US strongly oppose the bid. They insist that an independent Palestinian state can only be achieved through negotiations.

Abbas told Fox News on Monday he decided to go to the Security Council when he felt there was "no way" for negotiations.

"The American administration, including (US) President (Barack) Obama, exhausted their efforts in order to bring Netanyahu to the negotiating table.

"They couldn’t convince him to cease settlement activities."

The last round of US-backed direct talks collapsed within weeks in September 2010 when Netanyahu refused to extend a partial freeze on illegal settlement building on occupied Palestinian land, despite incentives offered by Washington.

The Palestinians say they cannot negotiate with Israel while it builds Jewish-only housing on land which would form a Palestinian state in a two-state peace agreement.

(Ma’an News)

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