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Palestinians ask to fly their flag at the UN

Draft resolution calls for non-member observers to be allowed to fly their flags alongside those of the 193 UN member states
File photo shows a protester adorned with Palestinian flags

UNITED NATIONS, United States - Palestine on Thursday asked the United Nations to allow its flag to be raised at the world body ahead of next month's meeting of heads of state.

The move comes as Palestinians seek to bolster their bid for statehood despite fierce opposition from Israel.

A draft resolution was presented to the General Assembly requesting that the flags of the State of Palestine and the Holy See be hoisted alongside those of the 193 member states.

The Vatican and Palestine both have non-member observer status at the United Nations.

The resolution, co-sponsored by 21 countries including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, could come up for a vote before 15 September.

Currently, only full member states' flags fly at the UN. 

While the Vatican formally recognised Palestine as a state earlier this year, the Holy See said on Tuesday that it had no plans to co-sponsor the resolution.

"The Holy See asks the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the 'Holy See' and any generic reference 'on behalf of the Observer States'," the Vatican said in a note circulated around the UN, according to Reuters.

Israel's mission to the United Nations did not respond to AFP's requests for comment, but an Israeli foreign ministry official called Palestine's resolution "a cheap and unnecessary gimmick," the Jerusalem Post reported.

The General Assembly upgraded the status of Palestine to that of non-member observer state in 2012. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are among the world leaders who will travel to UN headquarters as of 25 September for an anti-poverty summit and the annual General Assembly debate.

Pope Francis is to make a much-anticipated address on 25 September.