Palestinians Deny Reports They Abandoned UN Membership Bid

15-member UN Security Council expected to vote on Palestinian statehood motion next week; Palestinians one vote short of nine votes needed to pass motion.

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A Palestinian official on Thursday denied media reports that the Palestinians have abandoned their bid to become a full member of the United Nations.

The 15-member UN Security Council is expected next week to vote on the Palestinian statehood motion, which needs the support of at least nine members for it to pass. The Palestinians are one vote short.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds his hands to his face as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at UN headquarters, Sept. 21, 2011.Credit: AP

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The United States has said it will use its veto power to block the motion.

The official, who declined to be named, said any amendment to the Palestinian request would have to be approved by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

A Security Council subcommittee will publish on Friday a report on the Palestinian request for full UN membership. It is expected to clarify whether Palestine meets the criteria demanded by the world body.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told Voice of Palestine Radio Thursday: "Even if we get 14 votes in favour, a U.S. veto is going to kill the application anyway."

The United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accepted Palestine as a member last week and the Palestinians have said they may seek membership in other UN bodies if their bid for full membership of the UN fails.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki blamed the United States, Israel's closest ally, for pressuring council members "to dissuade them from voting for the Palestinian quest."

And he told The Associated Press that the Palestinians would not be calling for an immediate vote on membership.

Malki, speaking in the West Bank capital of Ramallah, said the Palestinians don't believe they could garner the necessary nine votes.

"We expected to get nine votes in the Security Council, but it's clear now, with the U.S. counter effort and huge intervention, that we are not going to have these nine votes," Malki said.

He added: "We are not going to ask for voting on Nov. 11. We want to hear the positions. We are standing before a hard battle, as USA has recruited all of its capacities in order to foil us."

The draft report does not include the number or names of countries that would support, abstain, or oppose Palestinian membership.