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    Iceland becomes first Western European country to recognize Palestinian state

    Iceland's parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of recognizing the Palestinian territories as an independent state, the first Western European country to do so according to Iceland's foreign minister. The vote paves the way for formal recognition by the small north Atlantic island, which led the way in recognizing the independence of the three Baltic States after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991. The Icelandic parliament decided by 38 votes in the 63-seat house to back a resolution allowing for the recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders of the Six-Day War of 1967. Iceland's recognition, however, is expected to amount to little more than a symbolic step as the Palestinian Authority strives to get United Nations recognition. Its quest for a seat at the international body has so far failed. Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed his bid for UN membership on Tuesday, saying it should complement peace negotiations provided that Israel is prepared to negotiate on the basis of 1967 borders.