South Africa backs Palestine UN observer status bid.
Out of the 193 members in the UN, only 9 countries voted against the bid, with 41 abstentions, with 5 nations not in attendance, with South Africa joined a list of influential and powerful countries in the world who voted yes.
According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), South Africa "regards this vote as a necessary step in the advancement of the Palestinian cause and calls upon all countries to support Palestine in this endeavour."
"South Africa also remains strongly critical of the ongoing defiance of the Government of Israel in refusing to halt the illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem, thereby complicating any possible resumption of substantial negotiation," added DIRCO.
The country's BRIC partners, China, Brazil, India and Russia all voted yes, along with the entire Arab League bloc, influential members of the Non-Aligned Movement, and all the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) countries, such as Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia all voted in favour.
In addition, countries from the European Union, such as France, Norway, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Finland and Sweden all voted yes.
From the African continent, every country voted in favour of the Palestinian bid, expect for the DR Congo, Malawi, Cameroon,
Rwanda and Togo who abstained from voting.
Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea and Liberia were absent.
However, the bid was strongly denounced by Israel, and the United States also opposed the vote, saying that the upgrading of
Palestine to observer member state, will not solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and urged both parties to return to the negotiation table.
Countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Colombia and the Netherlands all abstained from voting, despite initial reports indicating that they would vote no.
The overwhelming majority of countries voted yes, as scenes of jubilation were reported from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza.
The vote on Thursday coincided with 65th commemoration of the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 which paved the way for a two-state solution. They day is also marked as international solidarity day for Palestine.
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