The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Saturday rejected a Palestinian application to join the organization as an observer, which one official in Jerusalem said was the result of Israeli diplomatic efforts, Army Radio reported Sunday.

Twenty-eight countries voted against the Palestinian request and 21 voted in favor of accepting the application, according to the report.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Army Radio Sunday that Israeli diplomatic efforts played a role in thwarting the Palestinian application. The Foreign Ministry noted that the United States, Germany and Italy opposed the application.

Turkey also voted against the application, something the Foreign Ministry said could be a sign of improved relations with Ankara, according to the report.

Later Sunday, European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso was scheduled to meet senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah, ahead of a two-day visit to Jerusalem, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Barroso was expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

The EC president and Fayyad were expected to sign a 20 million euro agreement aimed at supporting PA efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law, according to WAFA.

The European Union is the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority.


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