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Mr. Abbas handed over an application to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters in New York this morning. Palestine currently has observer status at the UN.
According to the provisions of the UN Charter, the Secretary-General is tasked with verifying any letter requesting UN membership, after which he sends it to the Security Council and the General Assembly.
The application is considered by the Council, which decides whether or not to recommend admission to the 193-member Assembly, which has to adopt a resolution for the admission of any new Member State.
Later, Mr. Abbas told the Assembly’s annual general debate that Palestine is applying for full membership of the UN, on the basis of the so-called 4 June 1967 borders.
“Palestine is being reborn. This is my message,” he said, adding that he hoped it did not have to wait long for the application to be approved.
“I call upon Mr. Secretary-General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership. I also appeal to the States that have not yet done so to recognize the State of Palestine.”
In his address to the Assembly, Mr. Abbas said that Israeli Government policies were responsible “for the continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage the peace process.”
He cited the construction of settlements in the West Bank, the refusal of permits for Palestinians to build in East Jerusalem, and the extensive number of military checkpoints limiting Palestinian movement and the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip as examples of such policies.
“All of these actions taken by Israel in our country are unilateral actions and are not based on any earlier agreements. Indeed, what we witness is a selective application of the agreements aimed at perpetuating the occupation.”
He stressed that over the past two years Palestinian authorities have worked hard to implement a programme of building up State institutions, as well as strengthening civil society, increasing government accountability and promoting the participation of women in public life.
Meanwhile, the Middle East Quartet – a diplomatic grouping bringing together the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States – is scheduled to hold a meeting at UN Headquarters later today to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.