UN elects Palestine to lead 135 developing countries
Palestine, an observer state, will head the Group of 77 starting January 2019. The bloc represents 80% of the world's population.
Tuesday Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour announced that the United Nations has chosen Palestine as the leader of the agency's biggest bloc of developing countries.
Palestine, an observer state, will head the Group of 77 starting January 2019. The current head of the bloc – which represents 80% of the world's population – is in Egypt.
"We will be negotiating on behalf of 135 countries," Mansour said. "They're still denying we are a state. We walk like a state. We quack like a state. Therefore we are a state."
Israel and the United States opposed Palestine being elevated from an entity to an observer state in 2012 and frequently argues that the status of Palestine at the United Nations (UN) does not mean that the country is an independent state.
Additionally, in 2015, both countries disputed the decision to granted Palestine permission to fly a national flag at the UN.
An observer state cannot vote on General Assembly resolutions but is eligible for International Criminal Court and UNESCO membership.
Palestine hopes to make East Jerusalem their future capital. But, Washington recently ignited debates and fueled anger after spending US$21 million to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, criticised other Middle East nations for failing to help the Palestinians and advance peace with Israel.
"It is time for the regional states, in particular, to step up and really help the Palestinian people, instead of just making speeches thousands of miles away," Haley said at a Security Council meeting Tuesday.