Abbas, acting as chairman of the PLO, will seek full UN membership[Reuters]

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), confirmed on Friday that he will request full membership at the UN when the General Assembly convenes next week.

"We need to have full membership in the United Nations," Abbas said during a speech in Ramallah.

Abbas, who was acting in his capacity as chairman of the PLO, not as the president of the PA, said that more than 120 countries have already agreed to support the Palestinian bid.

Full recognition at the UN requires a two-thirds vote in the General Assembly. But it also requires the approval of the Security Council, and the United States has already threatened to veto the measure.

Abbas described the bid as a necessary step for the PLO. Negotiations between Israel and the PLO collapsed last year over Israel's refusal to halt the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Abbas also admitted that a UN resolution recognising Palestine would not immediately change day-to-day life in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

"Let's be practical here. We're not going there [to the UN] to become independent. We will come back to negotiate other issues," he said, referring to issues like borders and the status of refugees.

Abbas is expected to travel to New York on Sunday. He will submit a formal request for recognition next week, and is scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 23rd.