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Abbas stumps for Palestinian statehood in El Salvador

By Claudia Dominguez, CNN
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Mon October 10, 2011
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a bid for the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian state last month.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a bid for the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian state last month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Salvadorian president expresses support for a Palestinian state
  • The Palestinian Authority president has called for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state
  • Mahmoud Abbas is on a three-country tour in Latin America

(CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is on a three-country tour in Latin America in a bid to build support for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state, met with the president of El Salvador on Sunday.

Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes expressed his support for a Palestinian state and said that he hopes it will soon have a place at the United Nations, according to the president's website.

"We want to strengthen our relationship with Palestine ... and contribute to the reestablishment of talks between Palestine and Israel," said Funes.

El Salvador recently recognized the Palestinian territories as a "free, sovereign and independent state," the website said.

Palestinians bid for statehood at U.N.

Abbas made the bid for the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state last month, a move Israel says is premature without direct talks that address its longstanding security concerns.

A U.N. committee is expected to issue a report on its analysis of the historic Palestinian bid soon.

If a majority of the committee says the prospective Palestinian state fulfills the U.N. charter's requirements, it will send the application back to the full Security Council for a vote.

The Palestinians would then need nine of 15 votes in their favor, and no veto from any of the five countries that are permanent members of the Security Council.

U.S. officials have vowed to block the measure, though they most likely want to avoid an American veto out of concern over a potential backlash across the Middle East.

The General Assembly, however, could still vote to upgrade the status of Palestinians, who currently hold the status of nonvoting observer "entity." The body could change that status to permanent observer "state," identical to the Vatican's standing at the United Nations.

Abbas' effort to gain U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state is also opposed by Hamas, the Palestinian organization that controls Gaza.

He previously visited the Dominican Republic and is scheduled to wrap up his tour in Colombia this week.

Journalist Merlin Rodriguez contributed to this report.

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