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UN Security Council To Open Talks On Palestinian Membership Bid


Thousands of cheering Palestinians welcome President Mahmud Abbas outside his Ramallah headquarters on September 25 as he returned from delivering the historic UN membership bid.
The United Nations Security Council is expected today to open talks on the Palestinian application for full membership in the UN.

Reports say, however, that any possible Security Council vote on the question isn't expected for weeks or months.

On September 23, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmud Abbas formally asked the UN to admit Palestine as a full UN member state.

The United States, a key Israeli ally, has already threatened to use its veto power should the question come to a vote at the Security Council.

The United States says it supports a Palestinian state but argues that this must be achieved through direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, not through UN voting.

The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators -- the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the UN -- has called for the Israelis and Palestinians to quickly resume talks toward a final peace deal.

Abbas, speaking on September 25 in Ramallah, West Bank, reiterated that talks will not resume until Israel completely halts settlement building in the West Bank.

"We have confirmed to all that we want to achieve our rights through peaceful means, through negotiations, but not just any negotiations," he said. "We will not accept [negotiations] until legitimacy is the foundation and [the Israelis] completely cease settlements."

Israel has said a settlement freeze is an unacceptable precondition.

compiled from agency reports