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France has become the first major European country to back the Palestinian drive for statehood at the UN.
 
Austria reportedly also plans to support the proposal and claims it will be joined by more than half of the EU’s 27 member states. The vote is due later this week. 
  
France is a permanent member of the UN security council and has backed an upgrade in status for Palestine for decades.
  
“It is a question of political coherence,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the lower house of parliament. He added that immediate and unconditional negotiations are the only way that a Palestinian state can emerge.
 
Israel and the United States oppose the move.
  
“I think that the great majority of nations will vote with us. We tried very hard to win the largest number of European countries to vote in favor” said Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour. 
  
Upgraded status would mean the opportunity to participate in debates in the General Assembly and to join UN agencies, as well as the International Criminal Court.
 
Israel has promised unilateral action if the Palestinians challenge its actions in the ICC.

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