UNESCO to vote on Monday on Palestinian entry

PARIS (Reuters) — UN cultural agency UNESCO will vote on Monday on the PLO’s request for membership, part of a wider Palestinian campaign for recognition as a state within the wider United Nations system.

UNESCO’s executive board decided on Oct. 6 to allow the 193 member countries vote on the application, angering Israel and the United States, which provides 22 percent of the funding of the UN subsidiary and could cut that lifeline as a result.

A UNESCO spokeswoman said the vote was likely to take place late on Monday morning at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, during an annual gathering that runs from Oct. 25 to Nov. 15.

UNESCO is the first UN agency Palestine has sought to join as a full member since applying for membership of the United Nations on Sept. 23.

The bid for a full UN seat, which can be granted only by the Security Council, is destined to fail because Washington has vowed to use its veto in the forum if it comes to a vote.

Washington views the PLO’s quest for UN recognition of statehood as a unilateral move unhelpful to US efforts to revive stalled peace negotiations with Israel, which it says are the only way forward.

The PLO says talks with Israel, which also opposes the Palestinian UN initiative, have brought them no closer to their goal of independence in the two decades since such negotiations began.

(www.maannews.net / 28.10.2011)

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