Abbas lays first stone of Palestinian 'embassy' in Brazil

Doves released as PA president attends ceremony in Brasilia to place cornerstone in ground donated by Brazilian gov't which will become first state-level Palestinian diplomatic mission in South America.

December 31, 2010 19:38
1 minute read.
Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas smiling. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday laid the first stone of what is set to become a Palestinian embassy in Brazil.

Abbas carried out the ceremony in Brasilia, placing the stone in ground donated by the Brazilian government in the same district as other diplomatic missions.

Abbas seeks US backing in UN settlement condemnation
Abbas to lay cornerstone for PA embassy in Brazil
More S. American countries may recognize 'Palestine'

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Doves were released during the ceremony to represent peace, though one of the birds perched on Abbas’ head which provoked laughter among the crowds that gathered.

At the beginning of December Brazil said it had recognized the state of Palestine based on borders at the time of Israel's 1967 conquest of the West Bank.

The Foreign Ministry said the recognition is in response to a request made by Abbas in November to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Silva sent a letter to Abbas on Dec. 1, saying Brazil recognizes Palestine and hopes that the recognition will help lead to states of Israel and Palestine "that will coexist peacefully and in security."

On Thursday Abbas said his new attempt to get the United Nations to condemn Israeli settlements was specifically designed to win US support.

The Palestinians have drafted a proposal and are lobbying for a Security Council resolution that would declare West Bank settlements illegal and an "obstacle to peace."

The US has said it does not support the move. Israel says it's an attempt by the Palestinians to avoid negotiations.

Abbas says the Palestinian draft used the "same words" as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has in criticizing settlements, and he "doesn't see why" the US would veto the move.

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