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Palestinian leader to lay first stone of Brazil embassy

Palestinian president Abbas is to lay a symbolic first stone of a Palestinian embassy in Brazil

AFP, Wednesday 29 Dec 2010
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 25 December 2010. (AP)

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is to lay the symbolic first stone of an embassy in Brazil this week, following Brasilia's decision to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinian representative here told AFP.

Abbas will head the stone-laying ceremony on Friday, and on Saturday he will attend the inauguration ceremony for Brazil's new president, Dilma Rousseff, Palestinian diplomatic representative Ibrahim al-Zeben said.

Brazil angered Israel and the United States early this month when it declared it was recognizing a sovereign Palestinian state within the borders before the 1967 Six Day War.

Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia have since followed suit.

The other Latin American countries that previously recognized an independent Palestine are Cuba, Nicaragua, Costa Rica Venezuela.

Israel has called the declarations "regrettable," and said a Palestinian state should only be defined with its assent.

Lawmakers in the United States, Israel's close ally, have also criticized the moves.

Washington regularly uses its veto power in the UN Security Council to block any motions deemed to run counter to Israeli interests.

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