UN Recognizes Palestine as Non-member Observer State
Jubilation and applause spread after the confirmation of the UN vote, making Palestine an observer State. Photo by EPA/BGNES
As expected, the UN General Assembly has voted Thursday evening to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer State.
Despite the strong opposition by Israel and the US, the efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas culminated in triumph and gave Palestinians an indirect recognition of the sovereignty of their State, the Bulgarian Focus news agency writes Friday, citing Reuters.
Out of 193, 138 members of the assembly voted in favor, 9 – against and 41 nations abstained.
Abbas told the assembly the vote was the "last chance to save the two-state solution" with Israel.
"Sixty-five years ago on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two states and became the birth certificate for Israel. The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine," said he shortly before the vote in New York.
Israel's envoy to the UN stated the bid pushed peace process "backwards."
Speaking after the vote, the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, urged the Palestinians and Israel to resume direct peace talks and warned against unilateral actions.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the vote "unfortunate and counter-productive," saying it put more obstacles on the path to peace.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also asked for more talks, stressing the resolution underscored the need to resume meaningful peace negotiations.
The UK abstained from the vote, as did Germany. The Czech Republic, Canada, the Marshall Islands and Panama were among the nations voting with the US and Israel. Bulgaria abstained as well.
Hundreds of Palestinians celebrated on the streets of Ramallah, in the West Bank, after the result was announced.
Meanwhile, Israel's Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu called the vote "meaningless," and said that Abbas' address in New York had not been "the words of a man who wants peace."
The Palestinians are seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian State in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967.
Last year, Abbas asked the UN Security Council to admit the Palestinians as a member state, but that was opposed by the US.
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