UK Undecided on UN Palestinian Vote: Ambassador

Britain has not yet decided whether to vote for a Palestinian observer state membership of the United Nations this week, British UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said Tuesday.

Lyall Grant told reporters that Britain believes the Palestinians should delay their application from Thursday but is still in talks with the Palestinian Authority and would decide "in due time" how to vote.

"We have been engaging with them intensively, both here in New York and in Ramallah," the ambassador said before a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

The Palestinians are certain to get a majority at the 193-member UN General Assembly but already face opposition from the United States and Israel and are desperate to get other key powers to back the bid.

France has announced that it will vote for the Palestinians when President Mahmud Abbas seeks "non-member state" status at the General Assembly on Thursday.

Britain and Germany have warned the Palestinians that the vote could backfire and undermine fading hopes for a Palestinian state living alongside Israel if the vote does not lead to new direct talks, diplomats said.

The 27-country European Union is divided on the vote with diplomats predicting that between 11 and 15 EU countries could back the Palestinian bid.

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