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At UN, Palestine In Line to Vice Chair Upcoming Arms Trade Treaty Talks

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 7, updated – Palestine is seeking to be a vice chair of the upcoming Arms Trade Treaty talks at the UN, Inner City Press has learned, one of three from the Asia Group along with Japan and South Korea.

  There is not surprisingly some opposition.

  When US Ambassador Susan Rice came out of the Security Council Thursday morning, Inner City Press asked her about "Palestine as a vice chair of the ATT?"

  Ambassador Rice told Inner City Press, exclusively, "I don't think it's going to happen. They're not a member state."

  During the Security Council's last Middle East debate, Ambassador Rice opposed even the use of the phrase “State of Palestine” on the placard used in the Council.

  Back in July 2012 Palestine had to fight to even be seated in the Arms Trade Treaty talks in the UN, finally ending up not between Palau and the Philippines but in the front row in the corner, with the Holy See.

  That was despite the General Assembly resolutions defining the All States format, from 1973: specifically November 16 and December 12 and 14. It is related to the so-called Vienna format: UN member states and members of the specialized agencies (like UNESCO, which Palestine joined.)

 Click here for one of Inner City Press' six stories on that fight.

   But now, after the General Assembly's November 29, 2012 vote granting Palestine non-member State status at the UN, Palestine is currently on a so-called “clean slate” to be come a vice chair. There will be three from the Asia Group, for now there are only three candidates.

Will a legal argument be made against Palestine's participation as vice chair, or an alternative candidate be drummed up? With Japan and South Korea already on the slate, who else could be found to play that role? Watch this site.

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