UNITED NATIONS - Non-aligned members on the UN Security Council are approaching other Council members about a Palestinian request that the Council as a whole visit occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, diplomats said Wednesday.
Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Ambassador Abdullah Hussein Haroon, who is the coordinator of Nonaligned Movement’s Caucus in the 15-nation Council, said following a lengthy meeting that it had decided to approach the Security Council “to respond favourably to the request of Palestine to visit the Palestinian occupied territories.”
He said the group “intends to go through the Council on the issue and recommend to it favourably a visit to Palestine.” He added that the group “does not wish to anticipate on any issue but many council members who were sounded by NAM members have in fact responded favourably.”
Haroon said the visit will be a fact-finding mission “on aspects that we would like to see for ourselves, on what the situation on the ground may be in these areas.” On whether NAM sounded out the US, Israel’s strongest ally, Haroon said the decision has just been taken. “The US is very important, in fact, may be the most important aspect in considering these matters. But first NAM had to make its own calibrated decision on the matter.”
Asked when the trip will take place, Haroon said “we have shown our immediacy by taking up the matter up today on a single item agenda. It shows that we wanted to consider it. Of course any such move will be viewed and eyed at various sections of the world at different lenses. But the idea is we do not want to preempt it.” He said the Council’s visits to Palestine will try “to seek a sort of consensus so that all of us have something to add to the process, not confront the process, not subtract from the process.
We have a very broad mind. We have widely agreed that something beneficial needs to be moved.”
Asked whether the Council visit will include Israel too, Haroon said “let us first discuss within the Council how this can be done and should be done and would be done, and let’s get back to you. Today, we hope with everyone’s good will, that we perhaps become integral to moving the process forward.”
Standing next to Haroon, Morocco’s Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki told reporters, “We are all absolutely convinced that the Council’s visit to Palestine will go with a message of hope, a message to encourage all the parties to resume as quickly as possible genuine and effective negotiations to find a lasting solution to the Middle East issue.”
Palestine requested the Council visit earlier this year. The Council’s NAM members include India, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.