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Greek parliament backs recognising Palestine

AFP , Tuesday 22 Dec 2015
Abbas, Tspiras
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas speak during a press conference after a meeting on December 21, 2015 in Athens. (Photo:AFP)
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Greece's parliament approved a resolution on Tuesday calling on the government to recognise the state of Palestine, in a special session attended by the visiting Palestinian president.

All Greece's parliamentary parties voted in favour of the move, the assembly's president Nikos Voutsis said.

It urges the Greek 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, Voutsis added.

Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras announced Monday after talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas that Greece would no longer refer on official documents to the Palestinian Authority, but rather to Palestine.

Abbas' visit to Greece signals the "strengthening" of traditionally historic ties between the two, the premier said.

Athens has forged closer ties with Israel in recent years, especially in the field of energy, while retaining its traditionally good relations with the Palestinians.

Tsipras travelled to Israel last month when he met with both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Greece will "judge the right time" for recognising a state of Palestine, taking into account its "brotherly relations with the Arab people and ties of cooperation with Israel", Tspiras added.

Palestine's flag was hoisted for the first time at UN headquarters in New York on September 30 in a symbolic gesture.

Abbas then took to the podium to call for universal recognition of Palestine.

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