Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez, in a meeting with visiting President Mahmoud Abbas, Friday offered his country’s support for the Palestinians’ United Nations membership bid, according to reports.
Abbas, on an official visit to several Central American and Caribbean countries, discussed with Fernandez the Palestinian plan to gain UN recognition and membership.
The Palestinian president addressed the Dominican Parliament during which he announced that the Palestinian Authority intends to open an embassy in Santo Domingo.
“We hope that this embassy will be the central stage to develop our bilateral relations and our relations with many countries whether in Central America or the Caribbean,” he said.
Abbas said that the majority of world countries have recognized Palestine because they believe that this move is very essential for stability and peace in the region. The Dominican Republic has been one of the first countries to support the Palestinian bid, he said.
Fernandez conferred on Abbas the 'Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella,' the highest and principal honor of the Caribbean country.
“We hope to achieve peace and security among Israelis and Palestinians,” said Fernandez. “Recognizing the statehood of Palestine would help bring about lasting peace in the Middle East and ease concerns in the entire Arab community.”
He added that the Dominican Republic “does not hesitate to recognize the legitimate right of Palestine to be recognized as a free, sovereign and independent nation.”
Abbas arrived in the Dominican Republic on Friday, the first leg of his Latin American tour to gather world support for the Palestinian UN bid.
He will travel to el-Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia, and will stop in Portugal on his way back.
The vote from Colombia and Portugal, two non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, is crucial to get the UN body to discuss the Palestinian application for membership. While the two states have said they might abstain, Abbas is trying to get them to vote in favor of the application.
The Security Council has first to accept the recommendation before it is brought before the UN General Assembly for a final vote. The United States, a permanent Security Council member, said it will veto it if the Palestinians get nine or more votes in favor.
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Source: Palestine News & Info Agency