WASHINGTON – The United Nations' Security Council took its first official step Wednesday to consider the Palestinians' request for UN membership.
Lebanese Ambassador Nawaf Salam, who holds this month's rotating council presidency, announced that he was forwarding the Palestinians' request to the committee on new admissions, which includes all 15 member states on the council.
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The step is required by council rules of procedure. The committee will meet to consider the request for membership on Friday.
Palestinian UN Envoy Riyad Mansour thanked the council for quickly and unanimously agreeing to act on the Palestinian application: "We hope this process not to take too long before we see positive action," he told reporters.
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The process could take weeks before it comes to a final vote in the UNSC, where the United States has vowed to veto the measure should it receive the necessary nine of 15 council votes in favor of membership for Palestine.
Mansour did not address US opposition, but said instead: "As you see, the process is moving forward step by step and we hope that the Security Council will shoulder its responsibility and approve our application."
Ahead of submitting the request to the admissions committee, the UN Security Council met on Monday to consider the Palestinians' bid for full membership.
Ambassador Nawaf told CNN that the decision to bring the matter before the committee was made as required by Article 59 of the United Nations' Codex.
The UN Security Council's debate is expected to be largely symbolic – as it face a promised American veto – but Mansour held out hope that the bid would be accepted.
"We hope that the Security Council will shoulder its responsibility and address this application with a positive attitude, especially since we have 139 countries that have recognized the state of Palestine so far, meaning more than two-thirds majority," he said. "We are ready to govern ourselves."
AP contributed to this report
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