Paris: Palestine has won a first diplomatic
victory in its quest for statehood as UNESCO's executive
committee backed its bid to become a member, a move deemed
"inexplicable" by the United States.
Palestine's Arab allies braved intense US and French
diplomatic pressure to bring the motion before the committee's
member states, which passed it by 40 votes in favour to four
against, with 14 abstentions.
The Palestinian bid will now be submitted to the general
assembly of the UN cultural body at the end of the month for
The United States urged all delegates to vote "no" at the
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the UNESCO
decision was "confusing" as the UN Security Council weighs a
request from the Palestinians for full UN membership -- which
the United States opposes.
Speaking to reporters during a trip to the Dominican
Republic she said: "I found quite confusing and somehow
inexplicable that you would have organs of the United Nations
making decisions about statehood or statehood status while the
issue has been presented to the United Nations."
Clinton insisted that "the decision about status must be
made in the United Nations and not in auxiliary groups."
US Republican lawmaker Kay Granger, who chairs the key
subcommittee that disburses US monies for diplomatic purposes
said in a statement that she "will advocate for all funding to
be cut off", if UNESCO accepted the Palestinians in as a
The membership request, which Palestinian president
Mahmud Abbas presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on
September 23, will likely be voted on in the coming weeks.
First Published: Thursday, October 06, 2011, 15:57