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Middle East

Denmark to back upgraded Palestinian UN status

Denmark's Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal, center left, speaks with Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski during a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on Monday Oct. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

COPENHAGEN: Denmark will back a Palestinian bid to upgrade its United Nations status to that of a non-member observer state at a General Assembly vote this week, the Danish foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

"I am happy to announce that Denmark will vote in favour ... (in) the vote on Thursday," Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal said in a statement.

"For some time it has been clear that the Palestinians have wanted an upgrade of their status at the United Nations to that of a non-member observer state. After several weeks of talks, a resolution was finally presented yesterday," Soevndal said.

"This is a moderate text that underlines the need for peace negotiations and a negotiated two-state solution that can ensure Palestinians a secure, viable state alongside Israel," the foreign minister added.

The proposal is expected to pass as it has the backing of the majority of the UN's 193 member states.

It will improve the chances of the Palestinians joining the International Criminal Court and UN agencies. The Palestinians want to launch legal action in The Hague-based court to challenge Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

The United States and Israel have opposed the UN application, insisting that only direct talks on a peace accord can produce an agreement that will create a Palestinian state.

France on Tuesday said it would support the Palestinian bid.

 

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