Palestine elected to head ‘Group of 77’ bloc at United Nations
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Palestine elected to head ‘Group of 77’ bloc at United Nations

Observer mission will lead 134 countries representing 80 percent of the world's population at the international body

United Nations Headquarters
United Nations Headquarters

The observer mission for the State of Palestine has been elected to head a bloc of 134 countries representing 80 percent of the world’s population at the United Nations, in a symbolic snub to Israel and the United States.

Palestine was chosen as the 2019 chair by the bloc called Group of 77, based on its membership when it formed in 1964. In the bloc’s system of geographical rotation, an Asian state was due to take over the role of chair from Egypt in September, but in a show of solidarity, Asian states voted unanimously to hand it to Palestine.

The move is being seen as a diplomatic rebuke to Donald Trump for his relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and his decision to slash US aid for UN agencies working with Palestinian refugees.

The chairmanship has provided a boost for Palestinian envoys at the UN, and while not technically a state, Palestine has been recognised as such by the vast majority of countries, and in 2012 was deemed a “non-member observer state”.

Martin Khor, advisor to the Malaysia-based Third World Network, told IPS: “I think it will be a historic and a significant development-first for the G77 countries to elect Palestine as its chair, and thereby affirm their confidence in its leadership.”

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