The upcoming United Nations votes on a Palestinian state are expected to be postponed to an unspecified date, sources in New York said Tuesday.
Postponements are expected for both the UN General Assembly vote on the declaration of an independent Palestinian state, as well as the UN Security Council vote on full Palestinian membership, the sources said.
While media sources are preoccupied with whether the United States will succeed in its attempts to secure a majority of opposing votes to decline the Palestinians' bid for statehood, sources say a "silent agreement" exists between Western powers to act to postpone the vote at the Security Council.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe hinted at the apparent vote postponement. In an interview with 'Europe 1' radio on Tuesday, Juppe said that "diplomats are still hoping to prevent a crisis. It doesn't appear that a vote (on a declaration of Palestinian independence) will happen this Friday and that is in order to allow time for diplomacy to renew peace talks."
Juppe added that "there's a procedure for dealing with such requests and it can take a few days or weeks more."
Juppe's comments are in accordance with estimates among sources involved with the U.S.-led and western-supported attempts over the past few days to delay the Security Council vote.
If the Palestinian request does go ahead on Friday, the United States can refer the request to a debate inside the framework of informal consultations that Security Council members hold behind closed doors – a procedure that could last weeks or months. The sources reminded that more than a month ago, France distributed a draft resolution that included sanctions against Syria. The draft has not yet reached a discussion because Russia, with the support of China, has been delaying discussions of the draft at the Security Council.
Lebanon holds a senior position as rotating president of the Security Council and the Lebanese ambassador can try to speed up the process of debating the Palestinians' request, but a rotating president cannot decide on the priorities of Security Council discussions.
Sources in New York claim that Abbas is interested in postponing the Security Council vote, for this would give him time for diplomatic bargaining with the United States.
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