U.S. Calls UNESCO Move on Palestine 'Incoherent', Urges No Vote on Membership
The United States said Wednesday it was "incoherent" for UNESCO to back the Palestinian Authority's bid to join the cultural body with the rights of a state and said it could fuel tension.
A process is underway at the U.N. Security Council to study the Palestinian request to be admitted as a member state, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"So it's incoherent to be making decisions about constituent agencies of the U.N. before the U.N. Security Council has even had a chance to deliberate," Nuland added.
Backing Israel, the United States has vowed to use its veto if the Security Council votes on the Palestinian request, formally submitted last month, to be admitted as a member state.
But Palestine won a first diplomatic victory in its quest for statehood on Wednesday when the UNESCO executive committee backed its bid to become a member of the cultural body with the rights of a state.
Palestine's Arab allies braved intense U.S. and French diplomatic pressure to bring the motion before the committee's member states, which passed it by 40 votes in favor to four against, with 14 abstentions.
The Palestinian bid will now be submitted to the UNESCO general assembly at the end of the month for final approval.
"We will use the time between now and then to make our case to the countries that... this is not the way to go" to help the Palestinians achieve their goal of statehood, Nuland said.
"It creates tensions that add to the environment and makes it harder," she said.
The United States argues that only direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians can produce a two-state solution, with a Palestinian state living alongside a secure Israel.