Abbas = Reuters - November 11, 2011
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a news conference in Tunis November 11, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials stressed Saturday that they will continue efforts to seek full United Nations membership in spite of the latest setbacks at the UN Security Council.

A Palestinian application for full UN membership Abbas submitted on September 23 hit a snag on Friday when a committee reviewing it was not able to agree on the application.

The Palestinians also preferred not to call for a Security Council vote after it became clear they do not have the nine votes needed to bring it before the council for a full vote.

Speaking to reporters in Tunisia, where he is on an official two-day visit, Abbas said late Friday that even if efforts at getting full membership fail at this time, the Palestinian Authority will continue in its efforts in the future. He ruled out the possibility of dissolving the Palestinian Authority if the UN efforts fail.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki also said Saturday that these efforts will continue, "even for the 1,000th time," until Palestine is granted full membership. "Our goal is to get full membership," he said, stressing that becoming a non-member state of the UN remains an option that the Palestinians can embark on at any time and most likely get, but it was not the primary goal.

"We always knew that one round to get full membership would not be enough," Malki told Voice of Palestine radio from New York, where he was following up on the Palestinian application.

"The option to join the UN as non-member state is open for us and we can do it whenever we want," he said. "But our focus is to get full membership because this is what we want."

He said that the Palestinian Authority may opt for a non-member state but that will not be an alternative to getting full membership. "If we decide to go for a non-member state, it will be for tactical reasons and to join UN agencies. But this will not be an alternative to efforts to ask the Security Council for full membership," he said. "We do not want to just be observers; we want to be full members."