PA Criticizes Nigeria’s Decision to Abstain on UN Statehood Vote

RAMALLAH, December 31, 2014 (WAFA) – A senior Palestinian official criticized Nigeria’s decision to abstain from voting on a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution calling for an end to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine by 2017.

The official, who requested anonymity, told the Anadolu Agency, ‘We knew the US and Australia would vote against the draft resolution, but we were very disappointed by Nigeria, which abstained from voting.”

The UNSC on Tuesday 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 US and Australia voting against the proposal.

The United Kingdom, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Korea and Lithuania all abstained from voting, while Jordan, France, Russia, China, Argentina, Chad, Chile and Luxembourg all voted in favor with the vote.

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. “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 [Nigeria] was subjected to pressure that forced it to change its position,’ he said.

Direct, US-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.