Drama at the UN: The chief of staff for Gabon's president says the country has not yet made up its mind on whether Palestinians should be granted UN membership.
Gabon's position is being closely watched because it is one of the countries voting on the Security Council. The vote is expected to be close, and the African nation may hold the deciding ballot.
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Should the Palestinians elicit a two-thirds majority in the vote, the United States will be forced to impose a veto on the decision. American officials are keen to avoid a veto and have been pressuring various Security Council members to refrain from endorsing Palestinian statehood.
For full coverage of PA's statehood bid, click here
Laure Olga Gondjout, the chief of staff of President Ali Bongo, told The Associated Press by telephone from Libreville on Tuesday that the country's delegation to the United Nations has not yet submitted its position on the matter.
When asked how Gabon would vote on the Palestinians' bid for United Nations membership, Gondjout replied: "We have not turned in our position statement ... We cannot anticipate a recognition of the new state of Palestine - or a non-recognition at this point."
Gabon is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, established in 1955. The organization comprises 116 members not affiliated with any superpower during and after the Cold War. The country is considered one of Africa's wealthiest states and boasts the continent's highest per-capita income, despite immense socioeconomic gaps between the rich and poor. Oil constitutes the basis for Gabon's economy, with most of its residents employed in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres spoke with senior Bosnian officials and will also be conversing with colleagues from Nigeria and Gabon, all UN Security Council members who have not yet decided whether to endorse the Palestinian statehood bid.
In the talks, Peres will be stressing that unilateral moves will not resolve the conflict and may even deepen it.
Earlier Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that nine states support the bid. However, in an interview with the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat Abbas said that he is aware that pressure is being exerted on some states. "We don't know if they will change their positions," he said.
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