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Iceland Votes To Recognize Palestinian State

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas
Iceland's parliament has voted to recognize the Palestinian Territories as an independent state.

The Icelandic parliament, or Althingi, decided by 38 votes in the 63-seat house to back a resolution allowing for the recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders of the Six-Day War of 1967. Another 13 deputies abstained and 12 were absent. No one opposed the motion.

The vote paves the way for formal recognition by Iceland.

Foreign Minister Össur Skarphedinsson said Iceland thus becomes the first Western European country to recognize Palestinian independence.

Iceland led the way in recognizing the independence of the three Baltic states after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.

The Icelandic vote came as the Palestinian leadership is campaigning for full UN membership, after President Mahmud Abbas made the application at the UN General Assembly on September 23.

The United States and Israel oppose full membership, saying it can be achieved only through direct talks with Israel.

compiled from agency reports

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