Russia backs Palestinian UN bid

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers speech to United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2011 in New York City (AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)
A source from the Russian delegation at the UN General Assembly session told journalists that Russia will support Palestine's bid for full UN membership.

­Following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ emotional bid for membership for a state of Palestine in the United Nations on Friday, Moscow announced it will support the proposal if it comes up for a vote.

"If this issue is put to a vote, we will support it," the source said, as quoted by Interfax.

Abbas handed an application for Palestine’s membership in the international body to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the territories governed by the Palestinian National Authority, the organization said in a statement.

The Palestinian appeal to the General Assembly comes after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the US, Israel's main ally, as well as continued Israeli settlement expansion on land the Palestinians proclaim for their future state.

Palestinian authorities said they are confident the UN Security Council (UNSC) will consider their bid for fully-fledged membership in the UN within the next few days, Palestinian Ambassador to Moscow Faed Mustafa said.

"We are hoping that the Security Council will not take long to discuss this issue. We have been told that the procedure will take about 10 days, two weeks at the most," the ambassador told a conference at Interfax in Moscow on Monday.

Palestine's bid confirms the sincerity and seriousness of the Palestinian leadership, Mustafa added.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Ambassador to Russia Dorit Golender said that the Quartet's mediation activities in the settlement of the conflict between Palestine and  Israel remain important.

"The conflict between these two parties needs a mediator," Golender told a press conference at Interfax on Monday. "I think it is the only  body that has actively promoted the peaceprocess over the past few years."

On Friday, in a highly-anticipated speech at the UN, President Abbas attempted to persuade the international body to grant Palestine full membership as a state in the United Nations..

“Our people will continue this popular and peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies,” Abbas said. He also slammed Israel’s construction of the “racist annexation wall.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Abbas in his own speech at UN, saying that Israel has always been interested in peace.

“Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago,” the Israeli leader said. “On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today.”

Meanwhile, in related news, another meeting of representatives of the Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas is scheduled to take place in early October, Palestinian Ambassador to Moscow Faed Mustafa said.

"We have reached an agreement with Hamas officials that a new meeting of Fatah and Hamas officials, which will address issues related to the relations between them and the development of common positions on the basis of the agreement on Palestinian reconciliation signed in Cairo in May 2011, will take place in the first half of October," Mustafa said.

Russia has a fully-staffed Embassy of Palestine, which is located in central Moscow.

Robert Bridge, RT