Vatican Wants Name Off Palestinian Flag Initiative at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -

The Vatican has asked the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to it from a draft resolution the Palestinians have prepared for the General Assembly calling for the flags of Palestine and the Vatican to fly at the U.N.

The Palestinian draft resolution, which was seen by Reuters, says that the flags of non-member observer states “shall be raised at the United Nations Headquarters and Offices following the flags of the member states of the United Nations.”

The draft resolution specifically refers to both the Vatican and the State of Palestine, both of which are non-member observer states at the United Nations.

The initiative comes one month before the scheduled appearance of Pope Francis for a major speech before a high-level gathering of the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25.

Currently, only member states’ flags fly at U.N. headquarters. U.N. diplomats say the United States and Israel, which do not recognize Palestinian statehood, would likely be irked by any move to fly the Palestinian flag at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

The flag-flying resolution, which diplomats said the Palestinians were expected to circulate to the full assembly as early as Wednesday, had apparently been prepared without the explicit consent of the Vatican’s mission to the United Nations.

In a note circulated to some U.N. members and seen by Reuters, the Vatican made clear that while it did not object to the Palestinians proposing a resolution to fly their own flag, it had no plans to join the initiative — even though the Vatican formally recognized the State of Palestinian earlier this year.