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Three-quarters of world recognizes Palestine

Aug. 28, 2011 9:50 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2011 7:36 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- As Palestinian leaders prepare to seek membership of the United Nations, some 124 of the world body's 193 member states have announced their recognition of Palestine as an independent state.

A full list of the countries that have recognized Palestine can be viewed here. Their total population is over 5.2 billion people, equaling 75 percent of the world's people.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki is currently visiting Africa to ask more governments to recognize the independent state of Palestine.

The Palestinians are planning to present their bid for UN membership on Sept. 20, when world leaders begin gathering in New York for the 66th session of the General Assembly.

Following the collapse of direct peace talks with Israel in September last year, the Palestine Liberation Organization adopted a diplomatic strategy of looking to secure UN recognition for a state along the frontiers which existed before the 1967 Six-Day War.

Countries seeking to join the United Nations usually present an application to the secretary-general, who passes it to the UN Security Council to assess and vote on. If the 15-nation council approves the membership request, it is passed to the UN General Assembly for approval. A membership request needs a two-thirds majority, or 129 votes, for approval.

The US and Israel strongly oppose the UN bid and Washington could use its veto in the Security Council to block the initiative.

In the event of a US veto, the General Assembly can recognize Palestine as a state with observer status with a two-thirds majority.

Palestine Liberation Organization officials have said they might invoke the rarely-used "Uniting for Peace" resolution, which states that if the Security Council fails to act to maintain world peace and security, the General Assembly should consider the matter in an emergency session.

PLO official Saeb Erekat has said Palestinians would activate UN resolution 377 if faced with a US veto in September.

The session can be called at the request of seven members of the Security Council or by a majority of UN member states.

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