Lebanon News

Sleiman congratulates Abbas on Palestinian statehood

President Michel Sleiman during a Cabinet session at the presidential summer seat in Beiteddine, in the Chouf Mountains southeast of Beirut. (File/The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman telephoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend to congratulate him on Palestine’s diplomatic victory at the United Nations last week. A statement from the Baabda Palace office Sunday said that Sleiman congratulated Abbas for the U.N. vote recognizing Palestine as a non-member state in the governing body.

The statement also said Sleiman told Abbas that he hopes the vote will motivate stronger unity among the Palestinians and will boost the reconciliation process between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea also called Abbas Saturday and congratulated him on the Palestinian Authority’s “victory,” a statement from his press office said.

Last week, the General Assembly voted to make Palestine a non-member observer state by a more than two-thirds majority. A total of 138 countries voted for the resolution, while only nine voted against and 41 abstained.

In the wake of the vote, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in most of Lebanon’s refugee camps last week in celebration.

Palestinian officials in Lebanon visited al-Bas refugee camp in Tyre Sunday to congratulate Fatah Movement officials on the vote.

A number of delegations from diverse Lebanese political parties, municipalities, mukhtars and the Lebanese Army also attended the ceremony in the southern city.

Rifaat Shanaa, Fatah Movement’s secretary in Tyre, said that the vote has given Palestine the power to practice its legal rights like any other state in the world.

Shanaa also said that the Palestinian people fought and won a tough diplomatic battle despite the immense pressure exercised by the United States on the Palestinian Authority, and urged reconciliation.

“Palestinian people are in great need of national unity because this political, legal and international victory would not be complete unless we work on a reconciliation,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 03, 2012, on page 3.




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