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African Union declares support for Palestine

Jan. 31, 2011 5:46 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2011 3:27 P.M.)
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Ma'an) -- The African Union on Monday called on all countries to recognize a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, at its 16th annual summit in Addis Ababa.

A delegation representing the Palestinian Liberation Organization attended the two-day summit, including Executive Committee member Tayseer Khalid, presidential aide Nimir Hammad, the Palestinian ambassador to Ethiopia Zuheir Al-Shin and the PLO envoy to the African Union.

AU Commission chief Jean Ping welcomed the delegation and said African countries supported national rights for Palestinians.

The AU Executive Council proposed a draft resolution affirming Palestinians' right to self-determination, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

President Mahmoud Abbas has pursued international recognitions of Palestine, particularly since the collapse of negotiations with Israel in late September.

A wave of Latin American have recognized Palestine, but many African countries already issued their recognition when the PLO declared independence in 1988.

A notable exception was South Africa, which during apartheid was an ally of Israel.
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