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Abbas urges Latin America not to follow in US footsteps on embassy relocation

In Venezuela, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Latin American states not to copy the contentious decision by the US to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israeli-occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

“We hope that some countries across Latin America won’t go moving their embassies to Jerusalem, because that is against international law,” Abbas said during a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Monday.

The Palestinian president also hailed Maduro’s rejection of the dramatic shift in Washington’s policy on Jerusalem al-Quds, saying, “It’s a position that most countries have made.”

Last December, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington was recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and planning to move the American embassy to the ancient city. The announcement sparked condemnations worldwide.

Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied land and Palestinians consider it as the capital of their future state.

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Elsewhere in his remarks, Abbas, said, “We reaffirm our interest in having serious negotiations with Israel based on the international resolutions and laws and the importance of forming an international multilateral instrument and to continue working so that Palestine is accepted as a full country in United Nations.”

The UN General Assembly upgraded Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” in November 2012. The Palestinian national flag was also hoisted for the first time at the UN headquarters in New York in September 2015.

Maduro, for his part, said that Venezuela “decisively and actively” supports the Palestinian cause and rejects the US bid to take Jerusalem al-Quds away from history, “an illegal decision that is not recognized by United Nations mandates.”

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He further urged additional support for Palestine and its people in their struggle for statehood.

Maduro also expressed hope for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which would lead “to the return of Palestinian territory and their right to exist.”

The US is scheduled to move its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds on May 14, followed two days later by Guatemala. Paraguay is also expected to emulate the embassy relocation by the end of May.

Abbas is in Venezuela as part of a three-nation tour of Latin America, which will also take him to Cuba and Chile.

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