Portugal welcomes the enhancement of Palestinian rights at the UN

During a meeting at the United Nations (UN), the Portuguese ambassador, Ana Paula Zacarias, expressed her approval for the strengthened Palestinian rights within the multilateral organization, stating that it is “a positive step towards a free, democratic, and independent State of Palestine.”

“Israel was granted full membership in the United Nations 75 years ago, but the same right was not extended to Palestine. Therefore, today we voted in favor and commend the adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly,” stated Ana Paula Zacarias at the UN headquarters in New York.

“We also welcome the reinforcement of Palestinian rights, until the Security Council ultimately agrees to recommend its full membership,” added the diplomat.

Portugal is among the 143 UN member states that voted today in favor of a resolution granting “additional rights and privileges” to Palestine and urging the Security Council to favorably reconsider its application for full membership.

“In our view, this resolution is in line with the United Nations Charter and constitutes a positive step towards a free, democratic, and independent State of Palestine, coexisting alongside Israel within internationally recognized borders, in peace and security,” argued Portugal’s permanent representative following the vote.

Additionally, the ambassador highlighted that Portugal remains committed to taking “concrete and significant measures” towards peace and the implementation of a Two-State Solution, acknowledging its engagement in discussions with partners in this regard.

Addressing the General Assembly, Ana Paula Zacarias also commented on the destruction in Gaza, emphasizing that despite numerous appeals against a ground military offensive in Rafah, Israel issued an evacuation order to relocate over one hundred thousand Palestinians.

“The basic principles of International Humanitarian Law are incompatible with this evacuation order, which may amount to forced displacement. Preventing further loss of life is an urgent priority,” she stressed.

Portugal reiterated the need for full respect for International Humanitarian Law and emphasized that “collective punishment of the civilian population is unacceptable.”

“Therefore, we reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate use of all humanitarian land crossings and entry points in the Strip, at their maximum capacity and for as long as necessary,” advocated the Portuguese representative.

Once again condemning the attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel on October 7 last year, Portugal also reiterated its call for the “immediate and unconditional release of the hostages” held in captivity.

“Portugal fully supports all credible diplomatic efforts for a sustainable peace process. This war must come to an end. The world demands it,” she concluded.

The resolution adopted today by the UN General Assembly was presented by the United Arab Emirates, on behalf of the Arab Countries Group, and received 143 votes in favor – including Portugal -, nine against, and 25 abstentions from the 193 UN member states.

“Today, at the General Assembly, Portugal voted in favor of the resolution recommending Palestine for full membership of the UN. We celebrate, along with 142 countries, this step of support and hope for the Palestinian people. The only path to peace is the Two-State Solution,” stated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the vote on the X platform.

The countries that voted against included the United States, Israel, Argentina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Papua New Guinea.

Among the abstaining countries were Ukraine, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Finland, and Georgia.

The General Assembly states that the State of Palestine is qualified to become a UN member in accordance with Article 4 of the United Nations Charter and should, therefore, be admitted as a member of the United Nations,” the resolution asserts.

Among the new rights granted to Palestinians in this resolution are their seat among member states in alphabetical order, the presentation of proposals individually or on behalf of a group before the General Assembly, the request for the right of reply, making statements, or requesting agenda modifications, among others.

However, the elevation to the status of a UN member state for Palestine is not within the hands of the General Assembly but of the Security Council, which on April 18 denied it due to the exclusive veto of the United States (against 12 favorable votes and two abstentions).

Palestine requested UN membership in 2012 but the application was rejected by the Admission Committee. The case then went to the General Assembly, which granted Palestine (with the positive vote of 139 countries) the status of “non-member observer State,” which it still holds today.

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Asraful Shohag

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