Palestinians say they have started negotiations with Egypt to determine the boundaries of their undersea territory that could be exploited for resources as a first step to determining the sea borders of a Palestinian state.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, told reporters Friday that this is part of "building the structures of a serious, respectable state in all fields."

He said the resources in an undersea "exclusive economic zone" are "the wealth of the Palestinian people."

After the U.N. General Assembly recognized Palestine as a non-member state in October 2012, the Palestinians gained the right to seek membership in U.N. institutions and treaty bodies — and among more than a dozen that it joined was the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.