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UN General Assembly grants upgraded status for Palestine

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The UNGA on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to grant an upgrade of the Palestinians status at the United Nations from "entity" to "non-member state". Credit: XinhuaUNITED NATIONS, Nov. 29  The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to grant an upgrade of Palestine's status from "entity" to "non-member state", which is an implicit and symbolic recognition of Palestine's statehood at the UN.

The 193 UN member states voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, to support a draft resolution co-sponsored by about 70 countries, including China, Algeria, Angola, Brazil, Cuba, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Tajikistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Countries like are Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, Panama and the United States voted against the draft resolution.

Albania, Barbados, Bosnia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Hungry, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Togo and other 30 countries abstained from voting.

After Vuk Jeremic, president of the 67th session of the General Assembly, announced the result of the vote, the applause came from the hall of the General Assembly. Many ambassadors and diplomats came to shake hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express their congratulations.

Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, Sudan's permanent representative to the United Nations, introduced the draft resolution to the General Assembly on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The resolution "reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967."

The General Assembly "expresses the hope that the Security Council will consider favorably the application submitted on 23 September 2011 by the State of Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations," it added.

Acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state, similar to the Vatican's UN status, would implicitly recognize the Palestinian statehood.

Israeland its closest ally, the United States, oppose the Palestinian move at the United Nations on the ground that peace can only be achieved through direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"Today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace," Susan Rice, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, said while explaining the U.S. vote against the Palestinian move at the UN.

"Today's grand announcement will soon fade and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow to find little of their lives has changed, save (that) the prospects of a durable peace have receded, " she said. "This resolution does not establish Palestine as a state."

Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor said the new resolution pushed the peace process "backwards".

"The only way to achieve peace is through agreements that are reached by the parties and not through the UN resolutions that completely ignore Israel's vital security and national interests," Prosor said, calling the resolution "one sided".

Palestinians' UN bid violated existing agreements with Israel and the Israeli government will " act accordingly" in response, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in a statement issued shortly after the UN General Assembly voted for Palestine's non-member state status at the world body.

"This is a meaningless decision that will not change anything on the ground," said the statement.

November 30 2012, 13:35

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