Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Ban Ki Moon this morning. The official “readout” from the office of the Secretary General says:
Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, on the margins of the 66th General Assembly
The Secretary-General and President Abbas had a constructive meeting today.
President Abbas informed the Secretary-General of his intention to submit to the Secretary-General on Friday an application for membership in the United Nations. The Secretary-General informed President Abbas of his intention to perform his duties under the UN Charter.
The Secretary-General re-iterated his support for the two-state solution and stressed his desire to ensure that the international community and the two parties can find a way forward for resuming negotiations within a legitimate and balanced framework, and discussed with President Abbas the ongoing Quartet efforts in this regard. President Abbas stressed his commitment to a negotiated solution.
Given the political sensitivities around this subject , this is obviously a carefully worded statement. A UN insider helps read between the lines and explains what might come next:
“If the SG receives an application for UN membership, unless there is a legal reason not to (or unless the request is from a group that isn’t seen as having any legitimate case for membership – the UN gets all sorts of requests), he has a duty to forward the application on to the Security Council and then it’s up to the [Security Council] to see if procedurally they want add it to their agenda and when (which is done by majority vote – veto doesn’t apply to procedural votes)…
So, if Abbas submits an application on Friday, [The Secretary General] could act as early as Monday or Tuesday, and the [Security Council] could decide procedurally right after that, so we’re looking at the week of Sept 26 and maybe going into the following week.”