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Palestinians to push for membership Nov. 11

GENEVA | Palestinian diplomats are trying to muster support for a U.N. Security Council vote in New York on Nov. 11 on their bid for membership in the global body, a senior Palestinian diplomat said Thursday.

U.N. diplomats said earlier this week that a Security Council committee considering the membership bid would deliver a report on that day, and that ambassadors would then decide on the next steps.

Any member of the Security Council can request a vote on the Palestinian request, but a resolution recommending membership requires a minimum of nine “yes” votes and no veto by one of the council’s five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.

Once the 15-member Security Council recommends a country’s membership, its application must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the 193-member General Assembly.

Washington, Israel’s closest ally, already has pledged to use its veto if Palestinian membership gets the support of nine or more council members.


Arab League delegation to visit Syria next week

CAIRO | Syria has agreed to allow an Arab League delegation to visit Damascus in a bid to defuse the deadly violence there, the 22-member body said in a statement Thursday.

“We have received approval from the Syrian government to receive a ministerial delegation, headed by Qatar on Wednesday, Oct. 26,” Assistant Secretary-General Wagih Hanafi said.

The delegation will include Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi and the foreign ministers of Algeria, Egypt, Oman and Sudan.

At an urgent session in Cairo last Sunday, the Arab League called for “national dialogue” in the Egyptian capital between Syria’s government and the opposition by the end of the month to help end the violence and avoid “foreign intervention” in Syria.

The proposal was swiftly criticized by Syria’s official media.

The United Nations estimates that more than 3,000 people, including 187 children, have been killed in a fierce crackdown on dissent in Syria.

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