"In remarks welcoming Palestine to the agency, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova noted that membership “goes beyond raising the flag” and includes critical rights and responsibilities, as well as the sharing of universal values such as tolerance and respect for others.
“Membership allows a country to bring to the world that which it cherishes most – the wealth of its culture, the resonance of its dreams for mutual understanding,” she said.
UN NEWS CENTRE
officials attend the flag-raising ceremony for the Palestinian flag at the UNESCO
Headquarters in Paris December 13, 2011. (Reuters/Benoit Tessier)
Some 50 diplomatic guests watched as Abbas lifted the flag to the Palestinian national anthem and said he hoped UNESCO's move was the beginning of international recognition for Palestine. The Palestinian national anthem played as a morning of biting wind and rain gave way to a burst of sunshine.
"It is moving to see our flag raised and for it to be flying in this beautiful city of Paris among all the other states. This bodes well for Palestine becoming a member of other international institutions," Abbas said.
"We hope we will have one independent state in the future that will live side by side with Israel," he said.
In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority tourism minister celebrated.
"We are very thankful and consider it a Christmas gift under our tree to be included in UNESCO. And as of today our flag is also flying at UNESCO headquarters," Kholoud Daibes told reporters in Bethlehem.
"This is a reason for us not to give up, and we are very optimistic that the international community is becoming more sensitive and very supportive to the issue of ending occupation," she said Monday....READ MORE
Shortly after raising the flag making Palestine officially UNESCO member number 195, Abbas told the General Conference that “it is a historical and an emotional moment for me and my people to raise the Palestinian flag at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.”
UNESCO voted on October 31 to admit Palestine as full member, the first for a UN agency.
Abbas received a warm welcome and a standing ovation when he entered the hall and after he took to the podium of the General Conference to address UNESCO plenum.It is a cause for pride that UNESCO, with its noble and humanitarian charter, programs and objectives, was the first international organization to admit Palestine a full member, said Abbas....READ MORE