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France votes in favour of Palestinian flag at UN headquarters

A Palestinian flag, Gaza City, 6 August 2015.
A Palestinian flag, Gaza City, 6 August 2015. Reuters/Mohammed Salem

The United Nations General Assembly voted on Thursday to allow the Palestinians to raise their flag at the organisation’s headquarters. France, Russia, Sweden voted in favour although European nations were divided.

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“This flag is a powerful symbol, a glimmer of hope”, for the Palestinians amid broken-down peace talks, UN French ambassador François Delattre said.

The resolution, which allows the flag of Palestine to be hoisted alongside those of the member states, was adopted by 119 member states, eight voting against and 45 abstentions.

Both Israel and the United States opposed the vote.

Britain, Germany, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands and Cyprus abstained.

“It’s a step on the road towards Palestine becoming a full member of the United Nations”, said Palestinian Prime minister in Paris Rami Hamdallah.

“We hope France would one day recognise a Palestinian state”, said Hamdallah after talks with French Prime minister Manuel Valls.

The UN have now 20 days to implement the move, coinciding with a visit by president Mahmud Abbas on 30 September.

Palestine gained non-member observer status on 29 November 2012, following an historic vote with 138 in favour, 9 against, 41 abstentions.

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