Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced Thursday that the Palestinian Authority would not pursue admission to additional UN agencies at this time.
Al-Malki thus negated statements made by the Palestinian envoy to the UN's Geneva headquarters, who said that following the success of the UNESCO bid, the PA would pursue similar bids in the UN's other 16 agencies.
- Israel suspends PA funds, UNESCO fees
The Palestinian foreign minister stressed that the PA's decision to shelve its general membership bids would enable it to focus its efforts on the UN Security Council bid and the drive to become a full member at the UN.
UNESCO's acceptance, he said, constitutes a positive push for the PA's diplomatic efforts in the UN. The PLO first applied to UNESCO in 1989.
Turning his attention to the nearing UN Security Council vote, al-Malki said that if the Palestinians fail to get the necessary votes, or in case the US vetoes a favorable vote – as it said it would do – the Palestinians would pursue other avenues of acceptance into the United Nations.
"An observer status is no longer enough," he explained.
The Palestinian foreign minister's statement followed an admonition by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said that the Palestinian efforts to join other United Nations agencies were "not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody."
Ban warned that "millions and millions" of people could be affected if UN agencies see their funding cut as a result of the Palestinian bids.
The United States and Canada have cut off their contribution to UNESCO because the Paris-based UN cultural agency approved the Palestinian membership bid – stripping it of about one-quarter of its total funding.
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