UN likely to back raising Palestinian flag

2015-09-10 11:41

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United Nations - The UN is expected on Thursday to allow the Palestinians to raise their flag at its headquarters in New York in a symbolic move highlighting Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

The General Assembly will vote at 15:00 on a draft resolution that diplomats say is almost certain to garner a majority in the 193-nation forum.

"It is a symbolic thing, but another step to solidify the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena," said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative to the UN.

The resolution would allow the flags of Palestine and the Holy See - both of which have non-member observer status - to be hoisted alongside those of the member states.

Flag 'a small light' of hope

If adopted, the UN would have 20 days to implement the move, which would be in time for a visit by president Mahmud Abbas on 30 September.

Mansour said the initiative had the potential to "give our people some hope that the international community is still supporting the independence of the state of Palestine.

"Things are bleak, gloomy, the political process is dead, Gaza is being suffocated. This flag resolution is like the small light of a candle to keep hope alive for the Palestinian people."

Diplomats says the only unknown is how broad support for the resolution will be, and in particular the attitude of the Europeans who have been divided over the initiative.

US opposes Palestine flag

Both Israel and the US have expressed strong opposition, with Israel's ambassador to the body Ron Prosor slamming "a blatant attempt to hijack the UN."

US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner called it a "counterproductive" attempt to pursue statehood claims outside of a negotiated settlement.

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are among world leaders converging on UN headquarters as of 25 September for an anti-poverty summit and the annual General Assembly debate.

Pope Francis is to make a much-anticipated address on 25 September. The Vatican has officially recognised Palestine as a state.

The General Assembly upgraded the status of the Palestinians to that of non-member observer state in 2012.

Read more on:    un  |  palestine

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