Security Council has time to mull UN bid: Palestinians

President Mahmud Abbas will give "some time to the Security Council to consider first our full membership request before heading to the General Assembly," Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath told reporters yesterday.

Abbas was to meet with President Barack Obama later Wednesday and tell him that he was "determined" to go ahead with the Palestinians bid to seek UN membership for a Palestinian state.

But as the Palestinians did "not want anybody to suspect a lack of seriousness" about their bid, they were ready to give the Security Council time to consider the application which Abbas is due to submit to UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday.

"This is the procedure that we have to go through, without closing the doors to other procedures such as non-member state at the General Assembly," Shaath said. "And if we fail we will keep knocking at the door of the Security Council later. But when do we go to the General Assembly, that is a decision that has not been made yet. Most likely, we will, but when is a decision that has not been made."

The Palestinians have to win nine of the 15 votes on the UN Security Council for their bid to go ahead, but the United States has already said it would veto any bid.

However, the Palestinians could then apply to the General Assembly to grant them status as a non-member observer state -- also accorded to the Vatican. Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that a UN Security Council vote was still "several weeks" away, allowing time to avoid a confrontation.

"There will probably be several weeks and these weeks can be used to develop the strategy," Juppe told reporters. Shaath warned however the Palestinians were not prepared to wait forever. "If after a certain time, and that time has not yet been decided, we feel that there has been undue delay we will go to the General Assembly," he said.

"If there is no decision or there is a veto we will go the General Assembly."Abbas is also due to address the UN General Assembly on Friday, and would most likely leave straight afterwards to return to the Palestinian territories.

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