Friday, December 14, 2018

Palestine elected to preside Group of 77 of the United Nations


By Maria Correia - August 02, 2018
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Section: [Main News]
Tags: [UN]

Palestine has been elected as the ruling country of the largest bloc of developing countries in the United Nations, also known as the Group of 77.

The move is seen as a political response to Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the government’s aid cuts to Palestinian territories.
 
Prior to Palestine, the presiding country was Egypt. The group is to be chaired by Palestine starting in January.
 
As the United Nations considers Palestine an observer non-member state, the chairmanship is seen as great step for the country; it acts as a political boost at a time when Palestine is being increasingly blacklisted by the United States.
 
The election has stirred opposition from Israel and the United States. Israel’s ambassador Danny Danon stated that the move will make Group of 77  “a platform for spreading lies and incitement.”
 
He added that it would encourage Palestinians to “not engage in negotiations for peace.”
 
Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador for the United Nations, has frequently criticised the UN for anti-Israel bias.
 
Haley went even further when she stated at the United States House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Committee that she would block any appointment of a Palestinian official to a senior position at the United Nations because the United States does not recognize Palestine.
 
Opposition from the two states regarding Palestine is not new. Both Israel and the US opposed changing Palestine’s status from an entity to an observer state in 2012.
 
Similarly, the two states opposed the 2015 decision for Palestinians to have the right to raise their flag at the United Nations headquarters.
 
In June 2018, the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
 
In light of the decision, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian observer to the United Nations, told the New York Times: “[The US and Israel] are still denying we are a state. We walk like a state. We quack like a state. Therefore we are a state.”
 
Nadia Hijab from the Al-Shabaka Board of Directors called the chairmanship a “source of solace” as it gives Palestine a “very visible role at the UN” at a time when “Israel is moving on all fronts to wipe Palestine definitively off the map through relentless colonization.”
 
Martin Khor, who is an adviser for the Third World Network called the move a “historic and a significant development-first for the G77 countries to elect Palestine as its chair, and thereby affirm their confidence in its leadership.”
 
Group of 77 was founded in 1964 to support the economic interests and enhance negotiation capacity within the UN of the 77 establishing countries.
 
Today the block includes 135 members and speaks as a voice at the United Nations General Assembly, all United Nations committee meetings, and international conferences. The bloc represents 80% of the world’s population at the United Nations.
 
The Asian states that voted on the presiding state unanimously voted for Palestine to take the position.

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