POLITICS

Canada Votes Against Raising Palestinian Flag At UN Headquarters

09/10/2015 08:06 EDT | Updated 09/11/2015 12:59 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE - This July 27, 2007 file photo shows the United Nations headquarters building, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, in New York. According to a hospital spokeswoman on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has died at age 104.(AP Photo/Osamu Honda, File)

Canada is one of eight countries to vote against raising the Palestinian flag at the United Nations' headquarters in New York.

Of the 193-member General Assembly, 119 states voted in favour of the resolution, which called for raising the flags of non-member observer states. Forty-five abstained.

Israel, the U.S. and Australia were among the countries that voted with Canada against the resolution.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative at the UN, said the move was symbolic and served as "another step to solidify the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena," according to Al Jazeera English.

The resolution asks Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to implement the decision within 20 days of its adoption, according to a UN press release.

The Canadian government under Stephen Harper has been a staunch supporter of Israel. Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson was in Israel in June to show Canada's "unwavering support" to the state.

Asked why Canada voted against the resolution, Diana Khaddaj, a spokeswoman for the department of Foreign Affairs told The Huffington Post Canada that the government "opposes unilateral actions on either side."

"Attempts to internationalize the conflict with Israel hinder efforts to create a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Canada believes strongly in a two-state solution and calls on all parties to return to direct negotiations."

Palestine was granted non-member observer state status at the UN in 2012. Another observer state, the Vatican, asked to be not included in the resolution, Haaretz reports.

With files from The Canadian Press

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