Former U.S. Envoy to UN: PA Bid for UN Recognition Means 'Next to Nothing'

John Bolton visits Israel, says even with General Assembly support in September, U.S. will veto recognition of Palestinian state in Security Council.

A former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Friday that a Palestinian attempt to gain UN recognition with or without a peace agreement with Israel means "next to nothing" even if it succeeds.

The Bush administration UN envoy John Bolton predicted that the General Assembly is certain to support the Palestinian effort. However, he said that this endorsement would be meaningless without approval in the Security Council, where it almost certainly faces a U.S. veto.

John Bolton - AP

Over 130 of the 192 member states of the United Nations are expected to support the establishment of a Palestinian state if it is brought up for a vote by the General Assembly this coming September.

Visiting Israel on Friday, Bolton said Israel and the U.S. should "not to take it (the prospect of recognition of a Palestinian state in September) so seriously."

The Palestinian Authority plans to seek UN recognition in September after prolonged deadlock in peace talks.

Israel has made it clear that a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood is unacceptable, saying that a two-state solution must be reached through negotiations.

Bolton is in Israel along with other members of the Friends of Israel Initiative, a group founded last year by a former Spanish prime minister.

The former UN ambassador's statement comes a day after the Arab League announced it would be applying to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status at the United Nations, according to a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar on Thursday.

"It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership," said the communiqué, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

An open debate on the Middle East has been scheduled for July 26 according to a provisional calendar for the Security Council for July.