The Palestinians secured a diplomatic achievement this week after Palestinian U.N. observer Riyad Mansour attended an international assembly at the U.N. as a representative of a country, Israel Radio reported Friday.
At a meeting of parties to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Mansour reportedly was considered a representative of 'Palestine.'
Israel and the United States, who are not signatories to the convention, opposed Mansour's status as representative of a state, but their opposition was rejected by the body.
According to Mansour, this is the first time that 'Palestine' has been represented as a state at the U.N. 'Palestine' is currently only an "observer" at the UN.
Meanwhile, at another U.N. assembly this week, the world’s main developing nations decided to urge the U.N. Security Council to accept a Palestinian invitation to visit the Palestinian territories.
Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, whose country is a non-permanent council member, told reporters that the 120-member Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries agreed at a meeting Wednesday to recommend the visit and send a signal “that there is a necessity for others to come into the matter and not remain mere bystanders.”
The Palestinians invited the council to visit the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in late February, but the invitation has languished. Israel called it an attempt to divert attention from getting back to long-stalled direct negotiations to settle the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and diplomats said the United States, Israel’s closest ally, opposed the trip.
The Palestinians also invited the Security Council to visit the Palestinian territories early last year while a resolution was being debated that would have condemned “illegal” Israeli settlements and demanded an immediate halt to all settlement building.
The U.S. objected to the draft and proposed a weaker presidential statement, which the Palestinians rejected. The U.S. then vetoed the resolution and blocked a council visit to the Palestinian territories.
Haroon said many Security Council members sounded out by NAM about a trip to the Palestinian territories this year “have in fact responded favorably.” He said the trip would be discussed with the United States, which “may well be the most important state in consideration of this matter.”
Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, said Palestinian leaders, who are seeking U.N. membership, are still exploring all possibilities at the United Nations.