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Palestine looks for Irish support to have it recognised as UN state

Palestinian authorities have called for Irish support in its global campaign to have Palestine recognised as a United Nations member state.

The Palestinian ambassador to Ireland met a cross party delegation of TDs along with the so-called "flying chair", a handcrafted symbol of the state's statehood bid.

The chair, coloured in the familiar blue of the UN, has been taken to a number of countries to win backing for the formal application later this month.

Ambassador Dr Hikmat Ajjuri said they wanted to convey to TDs the link between Palestine and Ireland.

"The historic relationship and the long friendship between us and Ireland, I think needs us to ask and to request from our friends in Ireland to support us in this move," he said.

Campaigners have travelled with the chair to Lebanon, Qatar, Spain, Brussels, Moscow and most recently London to lobby support for their UN bid.

Ireland is the last stop before the campaign moves to New York, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to submit a formal application for UN membership next week.

The chair is marked Palestine and was crafted by artisans from olive trees growing near the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

The United States, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has said it will veto any application.