Mahmud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Mauricion Funes
The President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmud Abbas (L) shakes hands with the President of El Salvador Mauricion Funes during a press conference at the presidential house in San Salvador. Abbas met Sunday with Funes on a Latin American tour to rally support for UN recognition of a Palestinian state. © Oscar Rivera - AFP
Mahmud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Mauricion Funes
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AFP
Last updated: December 29, 2011

El Salvador can help Palestinian peace process: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas met with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes on a Latin American tour to rally support in his quest for recognition of statehood at the United Nations.

"We understand that President Abbas wants to share with us how they are seeing the process at the United Nations," said Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez.

Abbas, who was expected to thank the Salvadoran leader for San Salvador's recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state, also asked Funes for his country to mediate in the peace process with Israel.

"Mr. President, you can play that conciliatory role mediating between Palestine and Israel on a final settlement," Abbas said.

While El Salvador recognized Palestine as a "free, sovereign and independent state" on August 25, San Salvador has not yet said what position it would take at the United Nations.

"Before staking out any position, we want to listen to president Abbas's point of view," Martinez said Saturday.

After his meeting with Funes, Abbas traveled to Bogota for talks with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, who has already said the country would abstain in a UN Security Council vote on recognition.

Colombia, which has a seat on the UN Security Council, has argued that recognition of a Palestinian state should come through negotiations with Israel.

"Mahmud Abbas does not intend to change the vote of Colombia... but we seek the support of Colombia... especially in the possible negotiation," of peace, said Alexander Monteros, an advisor to the Palestinian mission in Bogota.

Abbas, who was greeted at the Catam air base, was expected to stay in Colombia until Tuesday, when he has a meeting set with Santos.

The Palestinian move for UN recognition is strongly opposed by both Israel and the United States, which say a Palestinian state can only emerge through bilateral negotiations.

Six Security Council members -- Brazil, China, India, Lebanon, Russia and South Africa -- have publicly indicated their backing for the Palestinian bid.

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