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Australia says Palestinian UN membership bid builds peace momentum

Sydney, Australia

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Saturday the country’s support for a Palestinian bid to become a full United Nations member was part of building momentum to secure peace in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Australia voted on Friday with the overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly in backing the resolution that would effectively recognise a Palestinian state. It recommended the Security Council “reconsider the matter favourably”.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong speaks during a joint press conference following an Australia and South Korea Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne, Australia, on 1st May, 2024. PICTURE: Reuters/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/File photo

The United States had vetoed a recommendation that “the State of Palestine be admitted to membership” in a Security Council vote last month.

The question of Palestinian membership is one of the few diplomatic issues where close allies Washington and Canberra differ.

“Much of our region and many of our partners also voted yes,” Wong told a press conference in Adelaide. “We all know one vote on its own won’t end this conflict – it has spanned our entire lifetimes – but we all have to do what we can to build momentum towards peace.”

Friday’s General Assembly vote – 143 in favour, nine including the US and Israel against, and 25 abstaining – was a global survey of support for the Palestinian bid. The Palestinians are a non-member observer state.

Their push for full UN membership comes seven months into the war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in Gaza and as Israel expands settlements in the occupied West Bank that the UN considers illegal.

“Australia has long been an unwavering supporter of a two-state solution”, Australia’s ambassador to the UN, James Larsen posted on X.


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