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      PA Inches Closer to Losing Security Council Vote

      Palestinian Authority's statehood bid at the UN likely to be rejected after Britain, France and Colombia announce plans to abstain.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 11/4/2011, 9:02 AM

      Mahmoud Abbas
      Mahmoud Abbas
      Flash 90

      The Palestinian Authority is likely to lose the upcoming vote in the UN Security Council on Palestinian statehood, after several member nations have announced their plan to abstain.

      CNN reported on Thursday that France and Britain plan to abstain in the vote. Two UN diplomats told the news network that both countries announced their intentions at a closed-door meeting on Thursday of the admissions committee for new UN membership.

      AFP is reporting that Colombia has announced its intention to abstain as well.

      The UN Security Council will meet on November 11 to discuss a report about whether or not to accept Palestine as a member of the international organization.

      However, diplomats now believe that due to the three countries choosing to abstain, the decision is unlikely to pass.

      “From what we heard today, there is no way the Palestinians could get the nine votes they need to get it passed,” a diplomat told AFP.

      Had the PA achieved a majority, the decision would have fallen through in any case, since the United States announced on several occasions that it would use its veto power in the Security Council to block the motion.

      The blow to the PA’s statehood bid comes after the entity was admitted as a 'full-member state' to UNESCO earlier this week.

      The PA’s foreign affairs minister, Riyad al-Maliki, told reporters in Ramallah on Thursday that the PLO will not apply to join any more international organizations but will focus on full membership of the United Nations.

      Al-Maliki said that if the bid fails, as is now highly likely, the PLO will keep applying for membership until Palestine is accepted in the UN and would not turn to the General Assembly.

      "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," the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency quoted al-Maliki as having said.

      Earlier on Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the PA should not pursue its plan to be recognized as a member state of the United Nations.

      Ban said that now that the PA has been accepted into UNESCO, it should be satisfied with that achievement.

      The reason for this surprising new view, according to Ban, is the financial hit the UN took when UNESCO approved the PA's membership. The U.S. and Canada immediately cut off funds to the organization, instantly lowering its operating budget by nearly 30%.