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Venezuela Pledges Support for Palestinian Statehood during Abbas Visit

Mérida, November 29th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- The president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, addressed the Venezuelan National Assembly (AN) and met with President Hugo Chavez on Friday in Caracas, and the Venezuelan government pledged its support for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.

“We demand that the international community and the world understand that for sixty years, Palestine has wanted to live as a free, peaceful, independent, and sovereign country like the rest of the countries in the world,” said Abbas in the National Assembly. “We have inherited the [task] of constructing a democratic state in Palestine where Jews, Christians, and Muslims live in equal conditions,” he said.

Abbas’s visit almost coincided with the 62nd anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly resolution that formed the states of Palestine and Israel on November 29th 1947. Abbas said the plight of the Palestinian refugees following the establishment of the two states was never fully addressed.

“We want and we advocate peace. We want to achieve an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital, through dialogue and peace,” said Abbas.

In an official statement, the National Assembly pledged its support for Palestinian statehood. “We say to the world that we are with the Palestinian cause, for peace, sovereignty, as well as solidarity, and its right to self-determination,” the AN stated.

The AN also expressed it’s “admiration” for the Palestinians’ “struggle for their liberation and national sovereignty,” and said that “the two intifadas have become the symbol of dignity and heroism for the whole world.”

Finally, the AN placed a number of demands on Israel. “To achieve lasting peace in the Middle East, the state of Israel should recognize each and every one of the rights of the Palestinian nation, put an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories, end the encirclement imposed on the Gaza strip, dismantle the Israeli settlements, and resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees,” the AN stated.

Upon receiving Abbas in the presidential palace, President Chavez said Abbas’s visited has “profound meaning” and that the “Bolivarian revolution,” as the political project of the Chavez administration is known, “placed itself on the side of the Palestinian people from the beginning.”

“We who struggle for justice on this planet unite our voices with that of the Palestinian people,” said Chavez. He reiterated Venezuela’s support for a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and praised the Palestinians for fighting against the “Yankee Empire” as well as the “genocidal state of Israel.”

To assist Palestine in the reconstruction of its war-torn territory, Venezuela signed an economic cooperation agreement with the Palestinian National Authority, as well as an agreement to admit twenty Palestinian students to study in Venezuelan universities in 2010.

Abbas’ visit marked the first visit by a Palestinian president to Venezuela. Before arriving in Caracas, Abbas met with the presidents of Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, and attained each country’s support for Palestinian statehood and an end to Israeli settlements. He said he intended to “reaffirm relations with these countries that know the hardship and bitterness of occupation and racism.”

Last April, three months after severing relations with Israel in protest against Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza, Venezuela established diplomatic relations with Palestine and announced its intention to open an embassy there.

Published on Nov 29th 2009 at 9.19pm