The Palestinian Authority on Thursday welcomed the Arab League’s decision to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines as a “very important step.”

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, described the Arab League decision, which was announced in Doha, Qatar, as a “diplomatic offensive” that would form the basis for Palestinian and Arab moves.

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The decision was announced following a meeting in Doha of Arab League foreign ministers that was also attended by Abbas and a number of senior PA officials.

A communiqué issued by the Arab League said that it has decided to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and upgrade its status as full member of the international organization.

The Arab ministers also decided to entrust the Arab group at the UN to prepare for this move by taking the necessary legal measures and following up all efforts and contacts related to this issue, the communiqué said.

A PA official in Ramallah said that Abbas was planning to visit a number of EU countries in the coming days to try to persuade them to support the statehood bid at the UN.

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Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Arab ministers decided to send letters to the countries that still haven’t recognized the Palestinian state asking them to do so ahead of the UN vote in September.

He expressed hope that the US would refrain from vetoing the statehood bid, noting that the Arab ministers had unanimously backed the PA plan.

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