WASHINGTON – Two Arab states will head the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in September, the month which is expected to see a vote on recognition for a Palestinian state. Lebanon will serve as president of the Security Council in September and Qatar will head the General Assembly for one year as of next month.
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The Security Council has five permanent member states with veto power (The United States, Russia, China, France and Britain) but Arab states are invariably represented among the 10 remaining rotating states.
Lebanon's Ambassador to the UN Nawaf Salam will preside over Security Council meetings next month. He will have the power to set one special topic for discussion. The US, for instance raised the subject of world teens last September. Lebanon was the only member state not to endorse a Security Council condemnation of the Syrian army's massacre of civilians.
Beirut may raise the issue of Palestinian statehood for a vote in the Security Council even without serving as president if the Arab League and the Palestinians decide to do so. It may also present the issue of Palestinian refugees and invite a special speaker, such as the Lebanese prime minister.
Qatar to head General Assembly (Photo: AFP)
It is unclear whether the Security Council president has the authority to invite a speaker who is not its citizen, such as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The US has threatened the Palestinians it will veto the resolution.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor refused to address any possible moves Lebanon may lead as president. "This is the daily reality we face in the UN. It requires double the effort in an arena which has an automatic majority against us," he told Ynet.
Qatar will start its one-year General Assembly presidency term in September. Arab states enjoy a majority among the Non-Aligned Movememnt, which is manifested in the decision to select Qatar as president.
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