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Palestinian president at UN ahead of vote

(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) A day before the vote for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York. The vote, which would grant the Palestinians limited statehood, is planned to take place on Thursday (November 29) afternoon. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is leading the campaign and several European governments are eager to give him their support after an eight-day conflict this month between Israel and Islamists in the Gaza Strip, who are pledged to Israel's destruction and oppose his efforts towards a negotiated peace. European states, including Austria, Denmark, France and Spain are backing the the diplomatic upgrade for the Palestinians at the United Nations. Israel and the United States both say the only genuine route to statehood is through a peace accord from direct talks with the Jewish state. Germany said it could not support the Palestinian move though it was not clear if it would abstain, like Estonia and Lithuania, or vote against it. Granting Palestinians the title of "observer state" short of full U.N. representation could allow them access to the court and some other international bodies. Talks have been stalled for two years, mainly over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have expanded despite being deemed illegal by most of the world. Abbas has pledged to relaunch the peace process immediately following the U.N. vote, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said as it gave its backing for fuller Palestinian statehood. With overwhelming support from the developing world, the Palestinians appear certain to earn approval in the 193-member U.N. General Assembly for the status upgrade on Thursday.

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