Bassam Abu Eid
Ma'an News Agency
August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

As the Palestinian UN bid for recognition approaches in September, two Arab countries will hold key positions in both the Security Council and General Assembly, adding momentum to Palestinian diplomatic efforts to gain statehood.

Lebanon is set to head the Security Council and Qatar will be rotating president of the General Assembly.

Lebanon is expected to upgrade the diplomatic status of Palestine to embassy level on Aug. 16 when President Mahmoud Abbas visits Beirut. The Palestinians also count on Lebanon, as president of the UN Security Council during September, to overcome any procedural obstacles the September bid might face.

The PA will also count on Qatar, who will head the UN General Assembly in September, to ensure that all legal procedures at the international body are facilitated as best possible. Having an Arab country as head of the General Assembly will also certainly help the momentum of the Palestinian bid.

Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki revealed Wednesday, in an exclusive telephone call with Ma’an, that Lebanon would upgrade the diplomatic status of Palestine to embassy level. That step, he explained, will be taken either before, or after President Abbas’ expected visit to Beirut next week. Abbas will urge the Lebanese officials to do their best to help the Palestinians with the UN bid.

“This step by Lebanon will support the September bid,” he said.

Asked about the expected US veto to thwart the Palestinian bid, Al-Maliki said the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah was studying its implications and discussing the expected results.

Al-Maliki did not give an answer, when asked by Ma’an, about the reason why the Palestinian Authority has not submitted an application to the UN in July or in August so it can be discussed in September.

However, he did say that the application would be submitted in September and the Palestinians could count on the power Lebanon enjoys as the president in case the Security Council insists that the bid must be submitted 35 days earlier.


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