Israel scored one success on Tuesday in its diplomatic efforts to block a declaration of a Palestinian state in the UN, after Nigeria decided to abstain in Friday’s vote in the UN Security Council.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s office made the announcement of Nigeria’s decision, following a meeting in New York between Barak and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Before the meeting, Barak updated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of his intention to meet Jonathan. Barak also updated U.S. government officials who are also working to prevent the Palestinian Authority’s statehood bid from passing in the Security Council.
Barak’s office said in its statement that the meeting between Barak and the Nigerian President was coordinated last week, adding that the meeting also dealt with the challenge of international terrorism and ways the two countries could cooperate in this area.
Prior to Barak and Jonathan’s meeting, Nigeria had been one of the Security Council members that were “sitting on the fence” and had not yet made a decision on how it would vote on the unilateral statehood bid.
The United States, who has the power to veto any resolution it doesn’t like, has already said that in a worst-case scenario it will not hesitate to use that veto to block the PA’s bid. At the same time it has been pressuring Security Council member countries to vote against the bid.
Earlier on Tuesday it was reported that several undecided Security Council member states are still thinking about how to vote.
According to the report, joining the U.S. against are Germany and Colombia, while China, India, Lebanon, Russia, and South Africa will vote in favor.
Gabon, which the PA previously claimed was in favor, said Tuesday that it was still considering the issue.