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Palestinians Still Hope for U.S. Support in UN, Mansour Says

Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Palestinians still hope they can persuade the U.S. to support their recognition as an independent state at the United Nations in September, an envoy said.

“We are engaging them to try to convince them that what we are doing is reasonable and realistic,” Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine at the UN, said today at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “We expect the members of the Security Council to not object to our joining the family of nations.”

Mansour dismissed concerns that the Palestine Liberation Organization has missed a July 15 application deadline for its statehood bid to be considered by the UN Security Council. He said rules could be bent “if there is the will.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has tried to dissuade Palestinian leaders from moving forward with the UN strategy. Obama says the Palestinians need to reach a peace agreement with Israel before they go ahead with establishing their own state. The U.S., as a permanent member of the Security Council, can veto resolutions.

If the U.S. vetoes the statehood measure, Mansour said Palestinians will go ahead with other strategies to upgrade their participation in the UN. Raising the delegation’s status from “observer” to “non-member state,” for instance, would enable participation in major UN agencies such as the World Health Organization and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, he said.

“Whatever we do will be a significant step toward statehood,” Mansour said. “We will accumulate points.”

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