Ma'an News Agency
October 31, 2011 - 12:00am

DOHA (AFP) -- Arab League foreign ministers said Sunday they would look into alternative action if their efforts fail to secure full Palestinian membership of the United Nations.

"We support the Palestinian demand for full UN membership," ministers said in a statement after talks in Doha. But the Arab League agreed to form a "committee of experts to study legal and political alternatives."

President Mahmoud Abbas, who attended Sunday's meeting, officially submitted the request for Palestinian membership in September, a move which the US has threatened to veto if it comes to a vote in the UN Security Council.

The Council is expected to meet on Nov. 11 to decide on whether to hold a formal vote on the membership application.

The Arab League's statement on Sunday expressed "support for the Palestinian campaign for full membership in UNESCO," where members are expected to vote at a Paris meeting on Monday on whether to grant Palestine full membership status.

Though the US has veto power in the Security Council, it cannot veto a decision at UNESCO, where a two-thirds majority of its 193 voting members is sufficient for the Palestinian membership bid to pass.

The same applies to the UN General Assembly, where Palestinian officials have said they would take their campaign for statehood if the Security Council bid is vetoed.

Israel rejects the Palestinian request, arguing a Palestinian state is achievable only through negotiations, which Palestinian leaders insist have provided them with little to show over 20 years.

The last round of talks broke down over a year ago after Israel refused to renew a partial freeze on settlement building on lands Palestinians say are vital for a viable state alongside Israel.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017