Published On: Fri, Jul 27th, 2018

Palestine chosen as “Presiding Country” of the Group of 77 at the United Nations

By Janet Ekstract   July 26, 2018
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Israel is not happy, according to reports, with the latest developments that happened earlier today at the United Nations when the decision was made to allow the state of Palestine to preside over the Group of 77 – the largest bloc of developing countries at the UN. Palestine will take over in January 2019 from current presiding nation – Egypt.
Palestine’s UN Ambassador, Riyad Mansour confirmed the decision  in a telephone interview with The New York Times and added that Palestine “will be negotiating on behalf of 135 countries.” This move is predominantly regarded as a ‘progressive move’ on behalf of Palestine, who holds an observer non-member state status at the UN.
Israel’s ambassador, Danny Dalon made a statement to The New York Times where he expressed his profound disappointment at this decision. Dalon said, “It is unfortunate that it will now become a platform for spreading lies and incitement. This will not promote the G-77’s goals, and encourages the Palestinians to not engage in negotiations for peace.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) had severed its diplomatic ties with the United States over its move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December and the U.S. has also recently cut funding to the UN Refugee and Relief Agency (UNRWA) that serves millions of Palestinians in refugee camps in the occupied territories and neighboring countries.
In addition, last month the US made a decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council due to what it termed as anti-Israel bias.
Observers see the move as a probability of increasing pressure on the US and Israel in the UN General Assembly.
In New York, on Tuesday at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) a resolution was considered and introduced by Egypt on behalf of the G77 that included a last minute oral revision that condemned Israel for keeping the bodies of Palestinians killed in the conflict.
Earlier, Israel had offered up an amendment that would name Hamas (they are also holding the bodies of Israeli soldiers) who were killed in August 2014.
Ambassador Kelley Currie, the U.S. Delegate to the ECOSOC, objected to the revision on procedural grounds since delegations are generally given 24 hours to consider circulated revisions or amendments. Her objection was voted down.
Currie also made an appeal for all member-states to “be clear on where they stand regarding Hamas by voting in support of the amendment,” but it was voted down by a vote of 18-5 with the five including the US, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. Currie also urged the G77 that it may want to reconsider its decision about having chosen Palestine as the presiding country.
Mansour was clearly irritated in his remarks to reporters and suggested that Currie’s comments were an indication of hostility toward the Palestinians.
The Group of 77, founded in 1964 by 77 nations,, was designed to promote their collective economic interests and to enlarge their joint negotiating capacity with regard to all major international economic issues at the UN.
Currently, the block includes 135 members that represent 80 percent of the world’s populace and the bloc also speaks as a unified voice at the General Assembly.

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