Nigeria, which presides over the United Nations Security Council this month, may have decided to vote for the application of Palestine for membership of the Organization.
Nabil Shaath, who is a member of the Fatah central committee, told Ma’an News Agency on Monday that nine Security Council members, including Nigeria, have committed to supporting the Palestinian effort.
“The nine states that have confirmed voting to us, and we do not question their stance, are the following: Gabon, Bosnia, Brazil, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, China and Russia,” Shaath claimed.
President Mahmoud Abbas last month submitted a formal application to Security Council for membership. That bid is currently being studied by a committee of the Security Council, which will vote on it in the next few weeks. For membership applications, the Council has a review period of 35 days.
When President Goodluck Jonathan appeared in New York two weeks ago for the 66th General Assembly, he came under intense diplomatic pressure by the United States and Israel as President Abbas prepared to make the Palestinian application formal.
Indications were that Nigeria would abstain in the vote. On the Question of Palestine, that has been Nigeria’s default position over the years even though the country recognized the state of Palestine in 1984. The wrinkle in the equation is that this time, Nigeria is in the spotlight as President of the Council.
The U.S. has indicated that it will use its veto in the Security Council, if need be, to block the Palestinian application. Nigeria’s two year membership of the Council will end on December 31, 2011.