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Palestinians have 8 votes in Security Council

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

By Agencies | Ramallah / 29 Sept 2011

The Palestinians have secured eight Security Council yes votes for their UN membership bid, just one short of the nine they need, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Riyad Al-Malki said he had received assurances from two additional nations — Nigeria and Gabon — that they would vote in favor of the Palestinian bid for full state membership at the UN.

“We have eight states that will vote for Palestine in the Security Council,” he said. “We are working hard to have a ninth and a tenth.”

Al-Malki said the Palestinians have assurances of “yes” votes from Lebanon, Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil, in addition to the new confirmations from Nigeria and Gabon.

“We are working on Bosnia, Colombia and Portugal,” he added, saying he was scheduled to visit Bosnia shortly, and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will make stops in Colombia, Portugal, Honduras and the Dominican Republic in October.

Abbas will also deliver an address in Strasbourg on Oct. 6, he said.

The Palestinians need to secure at least nine Security Council votes in favor of their membership bid for it to be approved and advanced to the General Assembly.

Even with the requisite nine votes, the United States has pledged to use its veto to block the request, but the Palestinians hope they can at least claim a diplomatic victory by securing a majority in the Security Council.

Meanwhile, thousands of employees at UN schools in Gaza are striking to protest the suspension of their chairman for political activities apparently linked to Hamas.

Thursday’s strike closed the UN’s 238 schools in Gaza, affecting more than 220,000 students.

It’s the latest flare-up between the United Nations, which runs many Gaza schools and clinics, and the militant group Hamas, which rules the territory.

The UN Relief and Works Agency, which assists Gaza refugees, suspended union chairman Suhail Al-Hindi from his job as a teacher for three months this wee, citing unspecified political activities.

Union officials say the strike could be extended to UN clinics if Al-Hindi is not reinstated soon.


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