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Official: Palestinians holding off on UN agency membership, mainly to give US effort a chance

A top official says Palestinians have done all the legal work necessary to join 63 U.N. agencies, conventions and treaties, but haven't applied yet mainly to give the U.S. peace effort a chance to succeed.

Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday that Palestinians have done "everything" to enable President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to succeed, and "there is a good opportunity now."

Kerry is heading to the Mideast this week to advance his two-month effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in November to upgrade the Palestinians from U.N. observer to non-voting member state, but have not begun seeking membership for Palestine in U.N. agencies — a move opposed by both Israel and the United States.

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