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Abbas lobbies for Palestinian statehood in Bosnia

(Xinhua)

09:04, August 16, 2011

BELGRADE, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Seeking support for a Palestinian seat at the United Nations, president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas began a three-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Monday, reported Radio Sarajevo.

Abbas, met with the three members of the Bosnian Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, Bakir Izetbegovic and Nebojsa Radmanovic, talking about the stalled internationally-brokered peace process and the need for a negotiated settlement for the Palestinian people.

Abbas said the main purpose of his visit was to lobby for support from UN member states for a September motion for the full membership of Palestine.

Izetbegovic, the Bosnian Muslim leader, stressed the historic injustices suffered by the Palestinian people and support for the return to the 1967 borders before Israeli occupation. He said BiH should take a principled stand and support the recognition of a Palestinian state in the UN.

Radmanovic, the Bosnian Serb leader, however offered a more detached assessment of the situation, calling for peace as a precondition for any lasting solution.

He also reiterated that BiH's position must be based on a consensus of representatives of BiH's three constituent nations, which in effect virtually precludes support for Palestinian statehood. Radmanovic also called for the European Union to develop a common position on the status of Palestine to inform BiH's politics.

An estimated 130 countries are expected to support the Palestinian request.

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