Abbas: New PA passports will be issued for State of Palestine
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Abbas: New PA passports will be issued for State of Palestine

On official visit to Greece, Palestinian leader predicts change to travel documents will happen within a year

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, shakes hands with President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas before their meeting in Athens, December 21, 2015. (AP/Petros Giannakouris)
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, shakes hands with President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas before their meeting in Athens, December 21, 2015. (AP/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that the PA plans to change its name on passports it issues to State of Palestine.

Abbas said this will happen in about a year at the most, replacing the name Palestinian Authority.

He spoke after talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Abbas arrived in Greece on Sunday, and is due to address the country’s Parliament on Tuesday.

Greece’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has unanimously called on the Athens government to recognize Palestinian statehood.

Tsipras’ leftist-led government is trying to balance improved relations with Israel with his party’s longstanding support for a Palestinian state. Tsipras visited Israel last month, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also met with Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank.

A government source said Sunday that the Greek parliament is set to recognize the state of Palestine in a parliamentary vote to be attended by Abbas during his visit.

A ceremony will accompany the vote on the resolution as Greece joins dozens of other countries that accord recognition to Palestine, the source said.

The resolution is nonbinding, and does not constitute a full government recognition of Palestine as a state.

However, officials in Athens were playing up the move as if it were a full recognition.

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