UN vote: NZ supports 'enhancing Palestine's status' - Peters

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand has made "a finely balanced decision" at...
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand has made "a finely balanced decision" at the UN. Photo: RNZ
New Zealand has voted in favour of a resolution to broaden the Palestinian role at the United Nations General Assembly.

Overnight the UN's general assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of Palestine being granted full membership of the United Nations.

New Zealand was among 143 countries that supported the resolution - nine, including the US, voted against.

Palestine currently has observer status.

A bid for full membership would have to be approved by the UN Security Council, where it would probably be vetoed by the US, the BBC is reporting.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the resolution enhanced the rights of Palestine to participate in the work of the UN General Assembly while stopping short of admitting Palestine as a full member of the UN.

"New Zealand will make a clear statement to the UN later this morning explaining its vote, indicating that while it supports enhancing Palestine's status at the UN, this does not amount to recognition of Palestinian statehood," Peters said.

New Zealand's vote first and foremost reflected the frustration felt by the international community "at the endless cycle of violence that continues to beset the region", he said.

"We have consistently said that Israel and a future Palestinian state living peacefully side-by-side is the only durable and just solution. That can only be achieved by the parties ending this conflict and returning to the negotiating table," Peters said.

"This was a finely balanced decision by New Zealand because while we have had a long-standing position in support of a two-state solution, and view recognition of statehood as a 'when, not if' question, our focus continues to be on the needs of the moment."

Those needs were a permanent ceasefire, the release of Israeli hostages taken during the attack by Hamas last October, and relieving the humanitarian crisis.

"The catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza can only be solved by the parties around a negotiating table, not by military action in Rafah and we call for an immediate de-escalation.

"While the UN resolution is a strong statement in support of Palestine's aspirations and reflects New Zealand and the international community's expectations for real progress towards a political solution, achieving statehood must ultimately require serious negotiations between both Israel and Palestinians, including over the political authority of a future Palestinian state," Peters said.