UN General Assembly accords Palestine Non-Member Observer State status

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UN General Assembly meets in 67th session

The General Assembly on Thursday voted to accept the State of Palestine as a Non-Member Observer State.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 138 nations in favour, to nine against with 41 abstentions.

In the resolution, the Assembly affirmed its determination to contribute to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfils the vision of two States: an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.

The resolution also expressed the urgent need for the resumption and  acceleration of  negotiations within the Middle East peace process based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In remarks to the General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestine comes to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip.

“Palestine comes today to the General Assembly because it believes in peace and because its people, as proven in past days, are in desperate need of it. Palestine comes today to this prestigious international forum, epresentative and protector of international legitimacy, reaffirming our conviction that the international community now stands before the last chance to save the two-State solution. Palestine comes to you today at a defining moment regionally and internationally, in order to reaffirm its presence and to try to protect the possibilities and the foundations of a just peace that is deeply hoped for in our region.”

In remarks to the General Assembly after the vote, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said his position has been consistent all along.

“I believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to their own independent State. I believe that Israel has the right to live in peace and security with its neighbours. There is no substitute for negotiations to that end. Today's vote underscores the urgency of a resumption of meaningful negotiations. We must give new impetus to our collective efforts to ensure that an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel.”

Secretary-General Ban urged the parties to renew their commitment to a negotiated peace.

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