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Israel To Make Official Bid For UN Equality
In a move aimed at finally obtaining its full rights as a member state in the United Nations, Israel has formally asked to join the WEOG regional grouping of mainly European and North American countries, unnamed diplomats said Friday. After years of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Lancry wrote to the chairman of the Western European and Others Group asking it to consider Israel for full membership on a temporary basis. Lancry's letter was received Friday by the New Zealand mission, which currently chairs the group.

Ever since becoming a UN member in 1949, Israel has been denied membership in any regional group at the UN, which denies it a seat on many UN committees, particularly the Security Council. Israel is the only nation which has never served on the Security Council - the only body within the UN with any real power. Far outnumbered by the Arab states in UN organs, Israel has spent years quietly trying to get into the WEOG group with the help of its main ally, the US. But it had met resistance from some European countries.

Earlier this year, Spain reportedly reversed its opposition and decided to back Israel's membership. Three working-level groups within the European Union followed suit, diplomats said. But membership is not a done deal yet and it is unclear if European ministers as a whole, as well as the rest of the WEOG group, are now ready to fully back membership.

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