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Palestinians to Push for Statehood at U.N. on Nov. 11

"We still have time..."

GENEVA (AP) -- Palestinian diplomats are trying to muster support for a U.N. Security Council vote in New York on Nov. 11 on their bid for membership in the global body, a senior Palestinian diplomat said Thursday.

U.N. diplomats said earlier this week that a Security Council committee considering the membership bid would deliver a report on that day, and that ambassadors would then decide on the next steps.

Any member of the Security Council can request a vote on the Palestinian request, but a resolution recommending membership requires a minimum of nine "yes" votes and no veto by one of the council's five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.

Once the 15-member Security Council recommends a country's membership its application must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the 193-member General Assembly.

Washington, Israel's closest ally, has already pledged to use its veto if Palestinian membership gets the support of nine or more council members.

"We still have time until Nov. 11, so there is a lot of efforts pushing certain countries to voting in favor," Palestinian envoy to the U.N. in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, told The Associated Press.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told reporters in late September that Palestinian membership has support so far from eight Security Council members - Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Lebanon, Nigeria and Gabon. He said the Palestinians are lobbying for more support, including from Bosnia and Colombia.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Colombia on Oct. 11 and was told by President Juan Manuel Santos that Colombia will only recognize a Palestinian state that has been established through negotiations with Israel, which leaves Bosnia as the likely key to a ninth "yes" vote.

Khraishi said "several parties are working" to secure the votes, but declined to elaborate. "I think that we will succeed to get the nine," he added.

Abbas delivered the Palestinian application to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23. Hours later, the Quartet of Mideast mediators - the U.S., U.N., EU and Russia - called for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in a month, with the goal of a peace agreement by the end of 2012.

The Israelis and Palestinians are scheduled to meet separately with the Quartet on Tuesday.


Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations.

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