September 2, 2015 / 9:45 PM / 2 years ago

Palestinians urge U.N. members to support flag-flying initiative

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Palestinian observer mission to the United Nations on Wednesday appealed to the world body’s 193 member states to support its call to be allowed to fly its flag at U.N. headquarters as a “non-member observer state.”

The statement from the Palestinians also responded to allegations by Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor, who on Tuesday called the Palestinian push to fly their flag alongside full member states’ “another cynical misuse of the U.N. by the Palestinian Authority.”

“We ... respectfully appeal to the member states of the General Assembly to support the draft resolution on the raising of the flags of the non-member observer states,” the Palestinian mission’s statement said.

The statement also dismissed Israeli suggestions that the Palestinian draft resolution on flying non-member state flags at U.N. headquarters was being forced through the General Assembly or that the assembly was being hijacked.

Currently, only member states’ flags fly at U.N. headquarters. While the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012, a Palestinian attempt to secure full U.N. membership failed. Palestine is considered a non-member state at the U.N.

But the flags of the two recognized non-member states - Palestine and the Vatican - could soon be flying at the United Nations.

The General Assembly is expected to vote on Sept. 10 on a Palestinian resolution that says the flags of non-member observer states “shall be raised at the United Nations Headquarters and Offices following the flags of the member states of the United Nations.”

U.N. diplomats say the Palestinians will easily secure a majority of votes to pass their resolution.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday described the Palestinian flag initiative as “counterproductive.”

Last week, the Holy See’s mission issued a diplomatic note saying it would not co-sponsor the resolution and demanding that all references to it be cut from the Palestinian draft.

Several days later, it issued a new news release reiterating that it did not object to the Palestinian draft resolution on flying non-member states’ flags but without any reference to its earlier demand that the resolution not refer to other non-member states. But it made clear it was satisfied with the status quo.

Israel said the Vatican issued the second statement after being pressured by the Palestinian and Arab delegations.

Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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