Palestinians take over U.N. Bloc
The Palestinian Authority is set to formally take the helm of the largest bloc of United Nation member states on Tuesday, known as the Group of 77 (G77) and China.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas will be in New York for Tuesday’s ceremony and is scheduled to meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the UN Security Council president and other world leaders.
In October, the UN General Assembly held a special vote to temporarily elevate the Palestinians’ status at the UN, so that it could take over the rotating chairmanship of the G77 for 2019.
The move provides the Palestinians with an emotional boost, as their efforts to attain UN membership remain stymied.
The Palestinians have the status of a non-member state at the UN, and would have been disqualified from the chairmanship without such a vote.
The G77, however, has recognized Palestine as member state since 1976.
The group of developing nations, the G77, was first created in 1964 to advance the economic interests of developing countries, but has since expanded to include 134 of the UN’s 193 member states.
On Monday, the G77 is set to hold closed door meetings, prior to Egypt’s relinquishing of its chairmanship of the group.
The US former ambassador to the United Nations in New York Nikki Haley attacked the Palestinian chairmanship of the G77 stating that “the Palestinians are not a UN Member State or any state at all.”
She added that the move encouraged “the illusion held by some Palestinian leaders that they can advance their goals without direct peace negotiations. In fact, today’s vote does nothing to help the Palestinian people.”
While at the UN, it is expected that Abbas will continue to advance the Palestinian agenda, including its push for membership status, a move that would need UN Security Council approval.