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Middle East

Abbas orders official use of ‘Palestine'

President orders new "State of Palestine" passports and ID cards after successful UN bid for recognition.
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2013 08:59
Abbas said changing the official language will strengthen a Palestinian state [AP]

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered new passports, ID cards, drivers' licences and stamps reading "State of Palestine", according to the official WAFA news agency.

Sunday’s decree came in the wake of the Palestinians' successful bid late last year for non-member observer state status at the UN over intense Israeli and US opposition.

Abbas said the changed language on official documents would help strengthen the Palestinian state "on the ground and build its institutions ... and its sovereignty over its land".

Already last week, he ordered the foreign ministry and embassies around the world to begin using "State of Palestine" in official correspondence.

Previously, official documents issued by Abbas's government, including passports and other identification documents, had been labelled as issued by the Palestinian Authority.

Israel has criticised the Palestinians for their successful bid for enhanced UN status, saying Palestinian statehood can only be achieved through bilateral talks.

The Israeli foreign ministry declined to comment on the latest Palestinian move.

The Palestinians say the UN upgrade will strengthen their position in negotiations with Israel and is a complement to any future talks.

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