Press releases, 18.04.2024

Palestine's application for full UN membership will not be submitted to the UN General Assembly due to the veto by the United States on 18 April in the UN Security Council. Switzerland abstained from the vote. After assessing the situation and consulting with the chairs of the parliamentary foreign affairs committees, the Federal Council concluded that granting Palestine full UN membership at this time would not be conducive to easing the situation and peace efforts in the Middle East. Switzerland remains committed to the two-state solution.

Palestine has had observer state status at the United Nations since 2012. It reactivated its previously inconclusive 2011 application for full UN membership on 2 April 2024. Full UN membership is decided by the UN General Assembly in accordance with the UN Charter. The UN Security Council must make a positive recommendation for admission before the General Assembly can vote on a membership application. Since the United States vetoed the recommendation for Palestine's membership, the application will not proceed to a vote in the General Assembly.

In view of the current highly unstable situation in the Middle East and from an overall peace policy perspective, Switzerland believes that admitting Palestine as a full UN member is not advisable at this time. The Federal Council therefore decided that Switzerland would abstain from the vote on the Palestinian application in the UN Security Council. Before making this decision, the Federal Council conducted a thorough assessment of the overall geopolitical situation and consulted with the chairs of the foreign affairs committees of both the National Council and the Council of States, as required by Article 152 paragraph 4 of the Parliament Act. Switzerland considers that it would be better to proceed with Palestine's accession to the United Nations as a full member at a time when such a step would fit in with the logic of an emerging peace.

Switzerland remains committed to the two-state solution. The Federal Council, as outlined in the MENA Strategy 2021–24, firmly believes that lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through a negotiated two-state solution that adheres to international law and internationally agreed parameters.

Further information:

Situation in the Middle East
What does Switzerland do in the UN Security Council?
MENA Strategy 2021-2024
Statement after the vote

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