UNITED NATIONS - The Palestinians' push for upgraded status at the United Nations is likely to succeed, the president of the UN General Assembly said on Friday, while warning the United States against cutting UN funding over the issue.
Having failed last year to secure full UN membership due to US opposition, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last month he would ask the 193-nation General Assembly to approve a less ambitious promotion of the Palestinian Authority's observer status to "non-member state," like the Vatican. It is currently considered an "entity."
Vuk Jeremic, the Serbian president of the General Assembly, said Abbas was consulting with UN member states and was expected to call for a meeting on the Palestinian issue as early as next month, shortly after the November 6 US presidential election.
"Most people expect that it is going to be the second half of November," the 37-year-old former Serbian foreign minister told Reuters in an interview.
"If they decide to go for it after these consultations, which is what President Abbas announced in his speech in September, most people expect that this is going to pass."
The United States and Israel have warned the Palestinians against seeking a status upgrade, suggesting that it could have financial implications for the Palestinian Authority.
UN diplomats and officials say they are also worried about a possible reduction of UN funding from the United States, which supplies 22 percent of the regular UN budget.
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