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Greek parliament votes to officially recognize Palestine

All parliamentary parties in Greece have voted in favor of recognizing Palestine. Greek lawmakers adopted the resolution in a special session which was attended by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

The new resolution adopted by Greek parliamentarians urged the government to "promote appropriate procedures for the recognition of a Palestinian state and every diplomatic effort for the resumption of discussions for peace" in the region, the assembly's speaker Nikos Voutsis said on Tuesday.

Deputy Speaker Tassos Kourakis called the resolution "an important step" towards getting international recognition for Palestine.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas referred to the Greek parliament as "the sanctuary of democracy" and said he was "proud" to be present.

Abbas thanked Greek lawmakers and said the vote would "contribute to the creation of a Palestinian state." The 68-year-long negotiations with Israel needed to come to an end, otherwise "anarchy" would break out in the region, Abbas told the audience.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) also welcomed the decision. "We truly hope that the Greek government will follow through with the parliament's decision and officially recognize a state of Palestine with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital," the PLO's deputy chief Saeb Erakat said in a statement.

Greece 'committed' to Palestine

On Monday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced after talks with Abbas that his country would no longer refer to "the Palestinian Authority" in its official documents, but rather to Palestine.

"Greece was committed to the installation of a viable and sovereign Palestine state based om borders set in 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital, a country that will coexist peacefully with Israel," Tsipras said. He was in Israel last month where he met Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas called for international recognition for Palestine on September 30, when the

UN hoisted the Palestinian flag for the first time

at its headquarters in New York.

mg/jm (AFP, AP, dpa)

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