Palestine cleared for UNESCO seat vote

Thu Oct 6, 2011

Palestinians gain a breakthrough in their efforts to win UN recognition after UNESCO’s executive board has agreed to submit the Palestinian bid for full membership to member states for approval.

On Wednesday, Palestinians pressed ahead with their UNESCO membership motion before the body’s executive committee, defying fierce opposition by the United States and France, AFP reported. 

The board of the UN cultural agency passed the motion by 40 votes in favor to four votes against and 14 abstentions, agreeing to send the Palestinians’ request to a final vote in the 193-member UNESCO general assembly on October 25. 

The Palestinian delegation has held observer status at UNESCO since 1974. Two-thirds of the member states now need to approve the request to enable Palestine’s full membership. 

Washington’s envoy to the Paris-based body, David Killion, however, said that “granting the Palestinians full membership now in a specialized agency such as UNESCO is premature.” 

US Republican lawmaker, Kay Granger, who chairs the key subcommittee that disburses US sums for diplomatic purposes, had also threatened to back suspension of all the UNESCO-headed funds, if the body admitted Palestine as a state. 

France, which abstained on the motion, said earlier on Wednesday that “it was not the time” for Palestine to pursue UNESCO backing, calling instead on them to hold talks with Israel. 

The developments came after the acting Palestinian Authority Chief, Mahmoud Abbas, presented the Palestinians’ statehood request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 23. 

The request is likely to be voted on in the coming weeks, while Washington has already threatened to veto the motion. 

The UNESCO membership would not only serve as a diplomatic achievement for the Palestinians, but would also allow them to apply to classify their monuments as World Heritage Sites.

Source: PressTV.


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