Labour MEPs meet chief Palestinian negotiator in advance of "historic" recognition vote

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Labour's MEPs welcomed the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Legislative Authority for talks today ahead of next week's European Parliament vote on recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Nabil Sha'ath met EPLP leader Glenis Willmott MEP, foreign affairs spokesperson Richard Howitt MEP and his fellow member of the foreign affairs committee Afzal Khan MEP, together with other Labour MEPs.

Mr Howitt is responsible on behalf of Labour's 191-strong group of sister parties - the Socialists and Democrats - for proposing the resolution in favour of recognition of Palestinian statehood to the parliament.

Mr Sha'ath thanked the British Labour Party for backing a similar resolution at Westminster and said the European Parliament vote could be an historic step to encourage other European Union states to follow suit.

Richard Howitt MEP said:

"Labour recognises that a final and lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through successful negotiations with full security for Israelis as well as Palestinians.

"But we believe proposing recognition of Palestinian statehood can add pressure to end the long wait for progress, and represent a concrete step towards a two-state solution.

"Labour MPs voted to support this aspiration in Britain, our sister parties are raising similar proposals in parliaments across Europe, and we are proud to be leading this initiative for the European Parliament itself."

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