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Switzerland abstains from vote to grant Palestine full UN membership 

A man holding papers and speaks into a microphone.
Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, speaks at the UN Security Council meeting on April 18, 2024. Keystone/Yuki Iwamura

Switzerland, like the United Kingdom, has abstained from voting on a resolution in favour of full membership of the Palestinian state at the United Nations.

The Swiss foreign ministry announced on Thursday night that “at the present time” the admission of Palestine would “not be conducive” to détente and peace efforts in the Middle East. 

“Switzerland is of the opinion that it would be better to admit Palestine as a full member of the UN at a time when such a step will fit into the logic of an emerging peace,” reads the Swiss foreign ministry’s statement on the vote in the UN Security Council on Thursday. Switzerland remains committed to a two-state solution. 

The United States – a permanent member of the Security Council – had vetoed the resolution during the vote. This meant it was off the table, even though 12 member states voted in favour. According to the news agency DPA, at least nine of the 15 Security Council members would have had to vote in favour for the resolution to be successful, and the five permanent Council members – China, France, Russia, the UK and the United States – should also not have vetoed it. If successful, the motion would have then had to be referred to the UN General Assembly for a vote, where a two-thirds majority would have been required. 

USA favours two-state solution 

According to DPA, the US government is of the opinion that an agreement with Israel on a two-state solution is a prerequisite for Palestine to be recognised as a full member of the UN. At a meeting of the Security Council on Thursday morning, the Palestinian UN ambassador, Riyad Mansour, strongly urged the adoption of the resolution, while his Israeli counterpart Gilad Erdan strongly warned against it. 

In November 2011, the application for full UN membership had already failed once at the Security Council. A year later, the United Nations granted the Palestinians observer status in the face of opposition from the US. Of the 193 UN member states, 139 have so far recognised Palestine as an independent state. Switzerland is not one of them. 

Adapted from German by DeepL/kc

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI swissinfo.ch we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles. 

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Masked Palestinian members of the "Ezz Al-Din Al Qassam" militia, the military wing of Hamas, hold their weapons and pose for the media during a march on the streets of Gaza City, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. Arabic on headband reads, "No God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet, Ezz Al-Din Al Qassam brigade." (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

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