Norway backs Palestinian path to UN statehood vote

Norwegian FM says it is "perfectly legitimate" for Palestinians to take case to UN; Syria officially recognizes Palestinian state, SANA reports.

Palestinian Flag 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Flag 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Norway, host of the 1993 Palestinian-Israeli peace accords, said on Monday it was "perfectly legitimate" for Palestinians to take their case for statehood to the United Nations for voting in September.
"We will consider very carefully the proposed text that's to be put forward by the Palestinians in the coming weeks," said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas beside him at a press conference.
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"Norway believes it is perfectly legitimate for the Palestinian president to turn to the United Nations with such proposals," Stoere said, adding that continued negotiations with Israel will be required in any case.
Stoere's comments come after Syria on Monday officially announced that it recognizes a Palestinian state on 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital, according to the semi-official SANA news agency.
In an official statement quoted by SANA, a Foreign Ministry source said, "The Syrian Arab Republic recognizes the state of Palestine on the lines of June 4, 1967 with east Jerusalem as its capital on the basis of preserving the legitimate Palestinian rights."
The statement added that Syria now considers the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Damascus as the official embassy of the Palestinian state.
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The United States and Israel have opposed Abbas's plan, backed by the Arab League, to bring the Palestinians' long quest for statehood to a vote in New York.
Abbas said on Monday the plan was still on.
Norwegian diplomats said UN membership would require approval by the Security Council, where the United States holds veto power, but that a resolution on statehood could go straight to the UN General Assembly.
Stoere said Norway would decide how to vote after reading the exact proposal but left little doubt about his inclination.
"I don't think that any Palestinians or anybody around the world are in doubt that Norway supports Palestinians' right to statehood," he said. "That has to be accompanied by a process of negotiation, which at the moment is stalling."
He and Abbas signed a document upgrading the Palestinian Authority's representative in Norway to ambassadorial rank, as several other European nations have done.
Norway chairs a group of Palestinian donor nations, some of which have contributed to a funding crisis for Abbas by not fulfilling funding pledges. Stoere implored them to pay up.