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Palestinians press statehood bid

July 18, 2011 at 7:41 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 18 (UPI) -- Palestinians are in the midst of a "massive" campaign to gain statehood sending officials abroad to garner support, negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Describing the campaign as "massive," Erekat said the aim is to gain recognition from the United Nations as well as individual countries, the Ma'an news agency reported.

"First, gaining recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital; secondly, gaining membership as a state in the U.N.," the agency quoted him saying.

Palestinian officials are being sent abroad to garner support for the move, he said. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas embarked for Europe during the weekend and will visit Norway, Spain and Turkey. Palestinian lawmakers are also being sent to India, Vietnam, China, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal, the agency said.

Erekat criticized the U.S. intention to veto the move in the U.N. Security Council.

"We can't see any justification for the U.S. vetoing our bid seeking statehood, and we call upon the U.S. administration to reconsider their decision objectively, especially after they failed to maintain the peace process and make Israel stop settlement activities," he said.

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