A big caliber scandal exploded today Tuesday 29 January 2013 following a question about the recognition of Palestine at the UN by the correspondent of an American during a press breakfast on the 2013 priorities and key events of the Vienna-based UN organizations and agencies which was held at the Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria (UNA-Austria) at the Hofburg-Stallburg.
The journalist asked a very simple question: What is the new situation of Palestine at the UN organizations in Vienna after its recognition as an observer member state by the UN in New York? He also said that by the IAEA statutes, there is no place for observer member states. So, what is the situation of Palestine at UNOV?
The question was directed the panel, the representatives of the UN organizations in Vienna, Mr. Janos Tisovszky, UNIS director, Mr. Mikhail Evstafyev, advocacy and communications coordinator of the UNIDO, Mr. Alun Jones, the chief of the communications and advocacy section of the UNODC, Ms. Annika Thunborg, spokesperson and chief of public information for the preparatory commission for the comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and Ms. Gill Tudor, spokesperson, head of media and outreach, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The UN representatives were not able to answer the question of the colleague. “I do not have an answer and I will submit your question to higher officials” said one person in the panel. Another one said that the recognition was a political issue and they did not receive communication from the UN office in New York that would change the situation of Palestine before the organizations in Vienna. A third person said that the position of Palestine before the UN organizations in Vienna remained as it was before the recognition of last year.
The UN representatives highlighted the schedule of UNOV during the New Year 2013 including the meetings and the conferences which are open for journalists. They briefed and gave further information about the outer space affairs organization (OOSA), the UN commission on international trade law (UNCITRAL), the office of the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), the UN scientific committee on the effects of atomic radiation (UNSCEAR), the UNOV conference for disarmament affairs (UNODA), the international narcotics control board (INCB) and the international commission for the protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).