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Palestinian president to renew UN bid for statehood

This news story was published on August 5, 2012.
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RAMALLAH, Palestine — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to renew the call for recognition as a non-member state at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 27, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Saturday.

Chances of garnering the necessary majority are rated as good, after a request for full membership failed in the Security Council last year.

The announcement came a day before the Palestinian Authority is to host its first meeting of the Palestine Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement in Ramallah, to garner support for their bid for statehood.

NAM is a group of states that say they are not formally aligned with or against any major world power bloc, or the West. It has some 120 members, mostly in Africa and the Middle East, but also in Asia and South America, and is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Al-Malki said the meeting, requested by the Palestinian Authority, was to introduce NAM members to the Palestinian situation and to ask for support in the UN General Assembly bid.

“The meeting aims to stress the right of our people and leadership to hold conferences on our land and to support our struggle to end the occupation and settlements and establish our independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said al-Malki.

The Palestine Committee meeting in Ramallah comprises the foreign ministers of 13 NAM member states and will be headed by Egypt, he said.

Malki said it was problematic to invite foreign ministers of countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, since they would have to pass through Israeli crossings to reach Ramallah.

It was therefore decided — in apparent agreement with Israel — to fly the heads of the delegations in a helicopter from Jordan straight to Ramallah to avoid contact with the Israelis.

The meeting is to open with an address by Abbas, and will conclude with what al-Malki called the Ramallah Declaration — expected to support Palestinian membership of the General Assembly.

The Ramallah Declaration is to be introduced as an official document at the upcoming NAM conference scheduled in Tehran later this month.

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