News / Middle East

Palestinian Flag Raised over UNESCO HQ

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, stands on a podium with UNESCO director general Irina Bokova, fourth from left, and other UNESCO and Palestine government officials in Paris, December 13, 2011.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, stands on a podium with UNESCO director general Irina Bokova, fourth from left, and other UNESCO and Palestine government officials in Paris, December 13, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Bryant

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said he would continue to push for full United Nations membership after savoring one symbolic victory for his statehood bid, watching his flag fly over the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

In a moment fraught with symbolism, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stood under a pelting rain watching as his red, black, green and white flag slowly rose for the first time over the headquarters of a United Nations agency.

Abbas was greeted by thunderous applause by foreign dignitaries and journalists, gathered at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate the agency's latest member. In a push for Mr. Abbas' larger statehood bid, UNESCO's general assembly voted in October to admit Palestine as its 195th member, over strong objections by Israel and the United States.

Israel temporarily froze the transfer of funds to the Palestinian territories. Washington has suspended its funding to the UN agency, arguing only a peace treaty can establish an internationally recognized Palestinian state.

But UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said she hoped the Palestinian membership would pave the way for peace in the Middle East.

"This new membership must be a chance for all to join together around shared values and renewed ambitions for peace. In this spirit, Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome Palestine to UNESCO," said Bokova.

Abbas offered similarly upbeat remarks.  Abbas described the day as an important marker in Palestinian history, one he hoped would usher in chances for greater freedom, justice and peace.

At a news conference later, the Palestinian leader said negotiations were continuing for full United Nations membership and to join more than a dozen other international organizations, but offered no time tables. Abbas applied for full UN recognition in September.

Washington contributes nearly a quarter of UNESCO's annual budget, and its funding freeze has left the agency strapped for cash. Among other areas, UNESCO oversees world cultural heritage sites and educational and scientific exchanges.

Abbas also held talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is pushing for an upgrade of Palestine's UN status to just short of full statehood.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid