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UNESCO to vote on Monday on Palestinian entry

October 28, 2011 | 11:40 am

General view of the Leaders' Forum room during the 36th session of UNESCO's General Conference in Paris on Oct. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

General view of the Leaders' Forum room during the 36th session of UNESCO's General Conference in Paris on Oct. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

U.N. cultural agency UNESCO will vote on Monday on a Palestinian request for membership, part of a wider Palestinian campaign for recognition as a state within the wider United Nations system.

UNESCO’s executive board decided on October 6 to allow the 193 member countries vote on the application, angering Israel and the United States, which provides 22 percent of the funding of the U.N. subsidiary and could cut that lifeline as a result.

A UNESCO spokeswoman said the vote was likely to take place late on Monday morning at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, during an annual gathering that runs from October 25 to November 15.

UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have sought to join as a full member since applying for membership of the United Nations on September 23.

The bid for a full U.N. seat, which can be granted only by the Security Council, is destined to fail because Washington has vowed to use its veto in the forum if it comes to a vote.

Washington views the Palestinian quest for U.N. recognition of statehood as a unilateral move unhelpful to U.S. efforts to revive stalled peace negotiations with Israel, which it says are the only way forward.

The Palestinians say talks with Israel, which also opposes the Palestinian U.N. initiative, have brought them no closer to their goal of independence in the two decades since such negotiations began.

(Reporting By Vicky Buffery; Editing by Brian Love and Alistair Lyon)

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