Palestinians Ready Backup Plan Ahead of Expected Holdup at UN

PA official says Palestinians to seek upgraded observer status after apparently failing to garner the 9 Security Council votes required for full UN membership.

Palestinians officials said Wednesday they are resigned to defeat in their quest for full membership at the United Nations and have resorted to a backup plan.

The officials said they would seek an upgraded observer status that would give them access to key international organizations. They were speaking Wednesday on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

UN Security Council - AP - January 13, 2010

Palestinians petitioned the UN in a unilateral bid for statehood in September. Since then, they have apparently failed to muster the nine votes needed in the 15-member Security Council to approve their membership as a full member state.

The U.S. has already promised to veto the request.

The official's comment came after Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki blamed the United States Tuesday for pressuring council members "to dissuade them from voting for the Palestinian quest."

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.

In another indication of the troubled Palestinian bid, earlier Wednesday U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague says Britain will abstain when the United Nations Security Council votes on the Palestinian bid for statehood.

Hague told the House of Commons Wednesday that the decision to abstain was made after consultations with fellow Security Council member France and other European countries.