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Nigeria to Back PA Statehood Bid at Security Council

Nigeria has reversed course and said it will vote in favor of full membership for the Palestinian Liberation Organization at the UNSC.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 9/27/2011, 8:08 PM

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday announced Nigeria will vote in favor of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' bid for full membership as a sovereign member of in the United Nations.

The PA office for foreign affairs released a statement quoting top PA diplomatic Dr Riyad Al Malki, who stressed he was officially informed by the his Nigerian counterpart Gbenga Ashiru that Nigeria will vote in favor of Abbas' petition in the 15-member security council. Nigeria had previously said it would abstain in the vote.

Officials in Ramallah have repeatedly claimed that the Palestinian Liberation Organization had secured the nine votes necessary to secure the vote, but without Nigeria's support the assertion was considered dubious.

Even with Nigeria's support, for Abbas' application to be passed from the Security Council to the 193-member General Assembly it must not only obtain the support of 9 Security Council members, but an affirmative recommendation from all five permanent members of the Security Council as well.

The United States, a permanent member, has vowed to give a negative recommendation for Abbas' application rendering the issue moot.

While there has been talk of using a Peace Resolution in the General Assembly to override US opposition, experts say such a move would be procedurally unsound.

Peace Resolutions were used to override persistent vetoes by the Soviet Union to UN action in the war between North and South Korea in the 1950's, where vetoes based on binding security decisions were in play.

But the US issuing a negative recommendation on a procedural matter is not the same as exercising a veto on a binding resolution – meaning such Peace Resolution would not apply.

The Security Council is slated to begin discussing Abbas' application on Wednesday as Israel brings in the Holiday of Rosh Hashanah - the Day of Judgment.