Middle East

Palestinian leader to visit Turkey after UN vote

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with members of the media in the West Bank city of Ramallah December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

ANKARA: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will visit Turkey next week, his first trip abroad after winning upgraded status at the United Nations, a Turkish presidential source said.

"Abbas wanted to visit Turkey to express his gratitude after our support for Palestine at the UN vote," the source told AFP on Wednesday.

Last week, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a resolution to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state, a move Abbas said was part of "a last chance" for a negotiated two-state solution.

Israel and its staunch ally the United States have both criticised the UN vote as an obstacle to efforts to reach an peace accord.

Turkey welcomed the upgrading of the Palestinians' status as a "significant step", with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu calling for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas is due to arrive in Ankara on Monday and will meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday, the source said.





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