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Palestinians Say Russia Backs State Bid

A top Palestinian official said Tuesday that Russia is supporting his government's bid to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations this fall.

Nabil Shaath, head of a Palestinian delegation that met Tuesday with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said "our plan to go to the United Nations will get support from Russia."

He didn't specify exactly what he meant by Russia's "support," and the Foreign Ministry wouldn't comment on Shaath's claim.

UN membership requires a recommendation from the Security Council and approval by two-thirds of the General Assembly, or 128 countries.

With the United States poised to veto the approval of Palestinian statehood at the UN Security Council, the Palestinians plan to turn to the General Assembly, whose decision would be nonbinding but could send a strong international message and put heavy pressure on Israel.

Russia is a member of the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators along with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. The group is set to meet in Washington next week to spur the resumption of the talks.

Lavrov said the aim of talks by the Mideast Quartet is the creation of an "independent, democratic Palestinian state."

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