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President Abbas arrives in Venezuela
Published Friday 16/05/2014 (updated) 17/05/2014 14:49
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Workers hold a banner bearing portraits of Palestinian leader Mahmud
Abbas (L) and Pope Francis in front of the Church of Nativity, in the
West Bank Town of Bethlehem, on May 14, 2014
(AFP/File Thomas Coex)
CARACAS (AFP) -- Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Venezuela on Friday to seek backing from Caracas for observer status in three Latin American regional organizations.

During his stay, which ends Saturday, Abbas will meet with President Nicolas Maduro, whose socialist government has faced months of at times bloody protests.

He arrived around 0230 GMT at Maiquetia airport for his third visit to the oil-producing country in five years.

Abbas heads to Caracas after meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London on Wednesday, a first since the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis collapsed.

In their talks, Abbas and Maduro will exchange views on the peace process, as well as Palestinian relations with Latin America, according to Palestinian envoy Linda Sobeh Ali.

Abbas will also seek support for the Palestinian Authority's quest to be granted observer status in the Union of South American Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

In the face of fierce Israeli opposition, the Palestinians won observer status at the United Nations in November 2012, opening the way for it to adopt a host of international accords.

Abbas will also be visiting the grave of Maduro's predecessor, longtime leader Hugo Chavez who died of cancer last year, according to Sobeh Ali.

In recent months Maduro has faced major unrest, which has claimed at least 42 lives since February, although he has called the protests a United States-backed coup attempt.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
16/05/2014 15:36
High flying president Abbas. When was the last time Abbas set foot in any of the twelve Lebanese Refugee Camps? What did he ever do for the refugees in Iraq or Syria? He does not even step foot in Gaza. Yet he flies around the world playing international politics. Is observer status on Latin American bodies going to make Lebanon legislate equal rights for Palestinians in Lebanon, Iraq or Syria?

2 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
16/05/2014 16:22
How embarrassing.
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