Palestinian statehood vote likely pushed to 2015, FM says
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Palestinian statehood vote likely pushed to 2015, FM says

Riyad al-Maliki acknowledges ‘contradictory’ Palestinian statements, says UN bureaucracy may take time

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki looks on prior to the start of an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council on the Gaza crisis on July 23, 2014 at the United Nations Offices in Geneva (photo credit: AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI)
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki looks on prior to the start of an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council on the Gaza crisis on July 23, 2014 at the United Nations Offices in Geneva (photo credit: AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI)

The United Nations Security Council may only vote on a Palestinian statehood resolution in early 2015, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said on Monday, pushing off the timetable for the move by several days.

The final draft of a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines by the end of 2017 will be submitted to the Security Council presidency by Jordan on Monday, following its approval by Arab ambassadors to the UN, Maliki told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. But UN procedural bureaucracy may delay the actual vote until the beginning of 2015, he added.

“This process will take more than a day or two, and we must be clear with our people in order to avoid a state of confusion stemming from the numerous statements, which are sometimes contradictory,” Maliki said. “These procedures are unrelated to the Palestinian position, but are routine UN procedures in such cases.”

Maliki’s comments contradicted an assertion by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who in an interview with Al-Arabiya Friday said that the Palestinian proposal will be brought to a UN vote no later than Wednesday.

But the eight amendments inserted into the bid following its submission on December 18 must now be translated into the official UN languages before being disseminated to all 15 Security Council member states, which will not happen before Tuesday or Wednesday, Maliki said. Then, the amendments must be sent to the countries’ capitals for further consultations and instructions, taking at least two more days.

“This depends on their presence at the foreign ministries on New Year’s Eve, which is unlikely, bringing us to the beginning of the new year,” he said.

Five members of the Security Council will be replaced in the new year, as well as the Council president, Maliki acknowledged. The new members (Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela) will require more time to review the bid, despite Jordan’s efforts to expedite the process.

“The most important this is that the bid will be voted on, and will not be delayed very long due to the routine procedures which are beyond our control,” Maliki concluded.

A PLO official, Yasser Abed Rabbo, accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas last month of rushing the UN vote despite its certain failure, in a bid to spare the United States the diplomatic embarrassment of vetoing a Palestinian statehood bid it supports in principle.

On Sunday, Abbas told US Secretary of State John Kerry he would submit the bid on Monday, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

Kerry reportedly responded by trying to convince Abbas to push off the resolution until after Israeli elections in March, hinting that the US would exercise its veto and could impose economic sanctions as well, an unnamed official told the Xinhyua news agency.

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