Vatican to Palestinians: Remove us from your Draft Resolution to UN General Assembly

Friday, August 28, 2015

On Tuesday the Vatican asked the Palestinian National Authority (PA) to remove references to the Vatican in a PA proposal that observer states' flags be raised at the United Nations alongside full members. Both Palestine and the Vatican are non-member observers.

Some of the flags, including Israel's, at the UN's New York headquarters.
Image: Damzow.

The draft Palestinian resolution, intended for presentation to the UN General Assembly, refers to the Vatican but reports suggest no approval was sought beforehand. The Vatican stated it would not object to the Palestinian proposal, but asks not to be included in it.

A message from the Vatican delegation to several members of the UN, quoted by Reuters, says "The Holy See does not intend to co-sponsor a draft resolution that the State of Palestine may eventually present on the matter". The note further reads that "The Holy See asks the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the 'Holy See' and any generic reference 'on behalf of the Observer States'".

Press reports suggest the PA included the Vatican in its draft resolution in order to prevent objections by Israel and the US. Pope Francis's first visit to the US begins next month. During his tour he intends to speak before the UN General Assembly in New York, attended by high ranking envoys from 193 states. During the Assembly, world leaders are expected to launch an initiative to end world hunger and poverty within the next 15 years.

In May, the Vatican acknowledged the Palestinian state, in a move the Israeli foreign ministry described as "disappointing." According to the PA, the Vatican is one of 136 states who recognize Palestine as a state. Israel and the US do not.