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Al-Malki: Palestine will not apply to other UN bodies

Nov. 3, 2011 7:48 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 5, 2011 11:42 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The PLO will not apply to join any more international organizations but will focus on full membership of the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority minister of foreign affairs said Thursday.

Some 107 countries voted Monday to admit Palestine as a member of UNESCO, and Riyad al-Malki told reporters in Ramallah that membership of the UN cultural agency was a step toward countering some historic injustices.

Israel and the US swiftly cut off funding to UNESCO. The Israeli government described the vote as a "tragedy" and decided to accelerate illegal settlement construction and withhold Palestinian tax revenue.

Al-Malki said Palestine would not seek to join any other agencies and that diplomatic efforts would concentrate on the bid to join the United Nations, which is under consideration by the Security Council.

Palestine needs nine votes from the 15-member council to join the world body, but the US has vowed to use its veto against the bid.

If the bid fails, the PLO will keep applying for membership until Palestine is accepted in the UN, al-Malki said.

The PLO will not turn to the General Assembly, which can upgrade Palestinian representation to that of an observer state, the minister said.

"We do not want, after all of these struggles, sacrifices, and efforts by the entire Palestinian people, to accept an observer state in the United Nations. We will not accept less than we deserve: a full member state."

Al-Malki said efforts to win votes in the Security Council were ongoing and that he would join a Palestinian delegation in New York for the council's meeting on Nov. 11.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that Palestinian efforts to join other UN agencies were "not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody."

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ban said Palestinian applications to join other agencies could result in funding cuts affecting millions of people.
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