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Palestinian envoy says the aim is to join 16 other UN agencies within weeks
GENEVA (AP) ' It's not just UNESCO: The Palestinians' top envoy in Geneva said Tuesday he believes that joining the U.N. agency for culture, education and science will "open the door" to joining 16 other U.N. agencies within weeks.
Ibrahim Khraishi, the top Palestinian envoy at the U.N. in Geneva, told The Associated Press that Palestinian diplomats are now planning to capitalize on Monday's landslide vote to allow the Palestinians into UNESCO by preparing papers to join the other U.N. agencies and a variety of other international organizations.
"Now we are studying when we are going to move for full membership on the other U.N. agencies," Khraishi said. "It's our target for (us to join) the international organizations and the U.N. agencies."
He said the UNESCO vote sets a precedent to allowing such broad memberships.
"We are working on it, one by one," he said. "Because it's now precedent that we are a full member in one of the biggest and one of the most important U.N. agencies, UNESCO. So it will open the door for us now to go further in our efforts to join other U.N. agencies."
The Obama administration cut off funding to UNESCO after Monday's vote, and U.S. officials warned of a "cascade" effect at other U.N. bodies that might follow UNESCO's lead. The Palestinians have triggered a long-standing congressional ban on U.S. funding to U.N. bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.