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Dec 3, 2014 10:56 AM

Belgium works to recognize Palestinian state

The Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) Belgian legislators from the ruling coalition are working on a non-binding resolution to recognize a Palestinian state, adding to the groundswell of support within the European Union.

Even if such a legislative resolution from the government parties comes quickly, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Wednesday he first will push for a new EU initiative to bring Israel and the Palestinian authorities back to the negotiating table to reinvigorate the peace process.

Belgian legislators are completing work on a text and it was expected that a resolution would be tabled quickly, said Peter Luykx, a legislator for the N-VA party, the biggest in the four-party coalition.

"We have a first draft text and our ambition is to bring it swiftly to the parliamentary committee" dealing with foreign policy issues, Luykx said in an interview.

He insisted that the resolution wouldn't show unconditional support for Palestinian statehood, but that "quite a few conditions and strings are attached."

Reynders told VRT network that in the end, "it will be up to the government to decide when it is suitable to move toward recognition."

On Tuesday, France's lower house voted to urge the government to recognize a Palestinian state. On Oct. 30, Sweden became the first Western European nation to recognize Palestinian statehood. Parliamentarians in in Britain, Spain and Ireland have approved non-binding motions urging recognition.

Germany, Israel's closest European ally and the EU's most powerful member, is a leading opponent of recognizing Palestinian statehood before Israel does. Berlin is seeking ways to kick-start the peace process again.


Raf Casert can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rcasert


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