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At UN Palestine Application Stalled In Procedures, Strong 6, Shaky 3, Germany

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 7 -- When Palestine's application for UN membership was taken up Friday morning by the Security Council Committee on Admission of New Members, the press not only wasn't allowed in, it was told it could not wait outside the meeting room to ask questions.

  Inner City Press has nevertheless gleaned what took place inside Conference Room 7. The "Strong Six" supporters of Palestine's application -- India, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, China and Lebanon -- urged that the process speed up, and opposed a series of procedural issues and questions raised by the European members.

  The European members, the most questioning (or "obstructionist") of which sources say was Germany, asked Security Council Affairs a series of questions about deadlines, when the Committee must report to the full Council and to the General Assembly.

  Since the applicable rules were written when the General Assembly met only infrequently, the process is out of date. In any event, the Council has dealt differently with various applications for membership. As one of the "Strong Six" put it to Inner City Press, the Europeans should be not allowed to hide behind procedure. But for now they try. Then there's the US veto threat.

Obama and Merkel, slow walk on Palestine

Significantly, the sources tell Inner City Press, two of the "Shaking Three" -- in this case, Bosnia and Nigeria, as Council president for October -- did not make statements. The other of the "Shaky" trio, Gabon, made a statement that did not tip its hand.

As the proponents of Palestine's membership interpret it, the International Court of Justice in 1948 ruled that only the small list of criteria in the Charter, Article 41, should be looked at in connection with the application for membership. Therefore, they say, there is little reason to get bogged down in procedure.

Germany, which along with the United States voted "no" on Palestinian membership in UNESCO in the run up to the October 25 full membership vote, has said that it opposes Palestine seeking membership other UN bodies because their main application is in the Security Council.

But now, the sources say, Germany is trying to stall and block its consideration there. They speculate about historical motivations of German policy. But the stalling remains, behind closed doors.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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