UN Nearly Ready for Vote on Palestinian Statehood: President

Vitaly Churkin, permanent representative of Russia to the UN and the president of the UN Security Council for December, said Friday that the council is prepared to vote on the issue of Palestine’s UN statehood if a few additional steps are taken.

Churkin’s statement came as he spoke in his capacity as president of the council during a briefing to the press on the 15- member UN peace and security body’s December program of work.

“The way things stand now is the admissions committee completed its work,” he said. “The Security Council is prepared to take a vote.”

Palestine, which is currently only a permanent observer at the UN, submitted an application for admissions into the global organization as a full member state on Sept. 23. The application was promptly forwarded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the council, which discussed the bid in its Committee on Admission of New Members.

Churkin said that two events must happen in order for the Security Council to proceed to a vote on the issue.

“One, we need to have specific indications from the Palestinians on what date they would like to have a vote because of course it’s a matter special for them so maybe they want to have some special arrangement for that, so we are prepared to entertain that and to accommodate their wishes for a date for a vote,” said Churkin.

He said that the second necessary step in order to initiate the vote is the creation of a draft resolution that the council can vote on, which is likely to be produced by Lebanon, the sole Arab state on the council.

“So far neither of those two things happened,” said Churkin. ” If they were to happen, the Security Council, I can assure you, can act very quickly on taking a vote on this issue.”

The U.S., a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council and a close ally of Israel, has indicated that it would use its veto to stop Palestinian statehood from passing in the council.

Churkin said that with regards to procedural issues the environment has been “very harmonious” in the Security Council.

“That does not mean our substantive positions became close or closer than the well-known positions we have on many occasions expressed publicly,” he noted.

Palestine’s quest for full member statehood has progressed despite objections from Israel and the U.S.

Israel’s government has said that it believes Palestine’s actions are an attempt to skip over bilateral negotiations on unresolved issues between Israel and Palestine. However, Palestine has countered that it still wants to negotiate bilaterally.

(english.cri.cn / 02.12.2011)

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