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Tánaiste says Ireland will back Palestinian push for UN membership

Eamon Gilmore was addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York today.

Image: Richard Drew/AP/Press Association Images

THE TÁNAISTE AND Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has said that Ireland will back Palestine’s bid for full membership of the United Nations.

In a speech to delegates at the 66th annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Gilmore said that Ireland opposed all efforts to “hinder or delay” negotiations over the issue of a resolution to the impasse between Israel and Palestine.

He said that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to seek full UN membership last week was “entirely legitimate and understandable.”

His speech came as the UN security council begins to consider the bid by Palestine to be the 194th member of the international body but with opposition from the US already voiced by its president Barack Obama, the bid for statehood is likely to fail at security council level.

This will mean that Palestine will have to seek the support of the General Assembly which has the power to grant it “non-member permanent observer state” status, essentially one rung below full member state, and a status previously afforded to the likes of Switzerland before it became a full member in 2002.

The General Assembly is likely to provide sufficient support for this bid with Ireland set to back it as well.

Gilmore added: “Provided that the resolution is drafted in terms that are reasonable and balanced, I expect Ireland to give its full support.”

In a wide-ranging speech, Gilmore also outlined Ireland’s commitment to maintain its level of international development aid with the UN looking to ensure that eventually all member states provide 0.7 per cent of Gross National Product to international aid.

He also addressed the issue of the Arab Spring and the events in Syria as well as the role of the Irish Defence Forces in peacekeeping missions in Lebanon.

Read Eamon Gilmore’s speech in full >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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