UN rejects Palestinian Authority request to join the Universal Postal Union

The request was part of efforts to gain international recognition

epaselect epa07051545 Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas arrives to address the General Debate  of the 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations at United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 27 September 2018. The General Debate of the 73rd session began on 25 September 2018 and runs until 01 October 2018.  EPA/JUSTIN LANE
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A request by the Palestinian Authority to join the United Nations Universal Postal Union has been denied.

The UPU co-ordinates postal policies among UN members to organise and improve global deliveries. The PA requested to join in November when it also applied to join 10 international protocols and conventions as part of efforts to gain international recognition for Palestinians.

For UN member states, joining the UPU is automatic, and adding a non-member state requires the support of two-thirds of member countries. At the weekend, the application was rejected after failing to obtain the support required for its approval.

According to Israeli media, 56 countries supported the request, seven states objected, and 23 answered with an abstention, while another 106 countries did not respond so were counted as abstentions.

In January, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki said the PA would launch a bid to become a full member of the UN by lobbying members of the UN Security Council.

The United States said it would veto Palestine's membership plans.

The Palestinians previously presented a request for UN membership in 2011, but the application never came before the UNSC for a vote. Since then, the country has joined more than 50 international organisations and agreements, including the International Criminal Court and UN heritage body Unesco.

In 2017, Interpol approved the Palestinian Authority's membership bid, despite strong Israeli opposition.

Later this month, the UPU will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, with the US's continued membership uncertain.

President Donald Trump has argued that the organisation, which was established in 1874, benefits China and other countries at the expense of US businesses by making it cheaper to ship packages from Beijing to New York than from San Francisco to the US East coast.