World Bulletin/News Desk
A senior Palestinian official has criticized Nigeria's decision to abstain from voting on a UN Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution calling for an end to Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian land.
"We knew the U.S. and Australia would vote against the draft resolution," the official, who requested anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
"But we were very disappointed by Nigeria, which abstained from voting," he said.
On Tuesday, the UNSC rejected a draft resolution calling for an end to Israel's decades-long occupation within three years.
The motion, which was submitted on Monday by Jordan after having been agreed upon by Arab states, failed to win the minimum nine votes required from the 15-member council, with both the U.S. and Australia voting against the proposal.
The U.K., Nigeria, Rwanda, South Korea and Lithuania all abstained from voting, while Jordan, France, Russia, China, Argentina, Chad, Chile and Luxembourg all voted in favor.
The resolution sets the end of 2017 as the deadline for Israel to fully withdraw from occupied territory and to declare East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.
The official said that, before the vote, the Palestinians had received confirmation from Nigeria's delegation at the UN that it planned to vote in favor of the draft.
"[But] 45 minutes before the voting session, we were informed that Nigeria would abstain from voting," he added.
According to the official, the Arab Group at the UN had coordinated with the African Group to ensure that the Nigerian delegation would throw its support behind the Palestinian bid for statehood.
"We believe that it [Nigeria] was subjected to pressure that forced it to change its position," he said.
Direct, U.S.-brokered Palestinian-Israeli talks ground to a halt in April when Israel refused to release a group of Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.
The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous "Balfour Declaration," called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians want a state of their own in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem – currently occupied by Israel – as its capital.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Aralık 2014, 15:49