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Portugal to vote for Palestine UN upgrade

Nov. 29, 2012 10:54 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 29, 2012 10:54 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Portugal will vote for Palestine to be granted non-member observer status at the United Nations, "having long favored the existence of an independent Palestinian state."

In the letter to President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, premier Pedro Passos Coelho said he "welcomes and supports" the leader's commitment to returning to negotiations with Israel without preconditions.

"The government of Portugal has consistently reiterated in all international fora and bilateral contacts its commitment to a two-state solution that fulfills the legitimate Palestinian aspiration to an viable and sovereign independent state, living side by side in peace and in security with the state of Israel," the letter reads.

"We praise your personal commitment to the principles of non-violence and to diplomatic negotiations," it continues. "It is in this context that we have decided to support your request to the UN General Assembly to obtain for Palestine the status of non-member observer nation."

The letter said Portugal, as a member of the EU, would continue its efforts toward establishing a Palestinian state, the representative office said.
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