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Spain Will Back Palestinian U.N. Bid, Britain Wants Assurances

The United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.
Stan Honda
AFP/Getty Images
The United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.

Following the French, Spain announced it would back the Palestinian bid to attain non-member observer state status at the United Nations.

Bloomberg reports that Spanish Foreign Minister Jose-Manuel Garcia-Margallo made announcement in a speech to the country's national parliament in Madrid.

As we reported, yesterday, France broke with the United States and Israel on the issue, becoming the first major european country to say they will vote in favor of the measure, which is expected to be brought up before the U.N.'s General Assembly on Thursday.

Britain took a much more nuanced view. The Guardian reports that Foreign Secretary William Hague said the U.K. would back the bid if the Palestinians made some public assurances, including an unconditional return to the negotiating table with Israel.

The Guardian adds:

"In a statement to the House of Commons, the foreign secretary said he would also be seeking an assurance that the Palestinians would not seek to extend the jurisdiction of the international criminal court over the occupied territories, before deciding which way to vote in Thursday's debate at the UN general assembly.

"'Up until the time of the vote itself, we will remain open to voting in favour of the resolution if we see public assurances by the Palestinians on these points. However, in the absence of these assurances, the United Kingdom would abstain on the vote,' he said."

As we've told you, Palestinians are bringing up the measure before the General Assembly because the United States threatened to veto it in the Security Council. Before the entire body, the measure has a very good chance of passing. Permanent members like the U.S., Britain and Russia have no veto power in the G.A.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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