France to recognize Palestinian state at UN

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PARIS (AP) -- The French foreign minister says France plans to vote in favor of recognition of a Palestinian state at the U.N. General Assembly this week.

Laurent Fabius has told parliament that France has long supported Palestinian ambitions for statehood and "will respond `yes'" when the issue comes up for a vote "out of a concern for coherency."

With the announcement Tuesday, France - a permanent member of the Security Council - becomes the first major European country to come out in favor. It amounts to a setback for Israel.

The Palestinians say the assembly is likely to vote Thursday on a resolution raising their status at the United Nations from an observer to a nonmember observer state, a move they believe is an important step toward a two-state solution with Israel.

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