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Cons-Liberal call to upgrade Palestine

Foreign Minister Søvndal is under heavy pressure.

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The Conservatives and Liberals are calling on the government to vote in favour of an upgrade to Palestine’s UN status at a General Assembly vote on Thursday.

““We support a vote in favour. We have been and still are in a dilemma. But every dilemma has to end and it is important to support Abu Mazen so we don’t risk him being defeated,” former Conservative foreign minister Per Stig Møller said on Tuesday. Abu Mazen is the kunya for the President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

Stig Møller added it ‘would not look good if he doesn’t get Western votes’.

Former Liberal development aid minister and current party foreign policy spokesman Søren Pind agreed, but with a caveat that Denmark should not stand alone among EU countries.

“We still feel that there should be a plurality of EU nations – not a majority but a plurality - and we are sure there will be,” Pind said. “Palestine’s moderate forces need recognition. This should also be seen as a step against Hamas,” he added.

Stig Møller said it was important that Israel did not misunderstand the move.

“It is vital that Israel understands that this is still a two-state solution. It is not a recognition of Palestine, but as far as we are concerned it is a strong call to explain that there must be negotiations that end with a two-state solution, the former foreign minister said.

Today’s developments are somewhat surprising as when the Conservatives and Liberals were in government, now Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal (SocPpl) repeatedly called for the centre-right government to recognise Palestine.

The current government has said that it will decide whether to vote or abstain on the issue by Thursday at the latest. “We have said that when we have the text (Ed: of the resolution) we will hopefully be able to vote in favour,” says Socialist People’s Party Leader and Minister for Business and Growth Annette Vilhelmsen.

In the meanwhile, Vilhelmsen said, discussions continue at the EU level in order to try to forge agreement among as many countries as possible.

France has already said that it will be voting in favour of the move, while Israel and the United States have warned against it.

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