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Israeli PM calls Stephen Harper to thank him for UN vote on Palestinians


Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a joint press conference following their meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, March 2, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Canada's vote at the United Nations this week against recognizing a Palestinian state.

Harper tweeted on Saturday that he spoke to Netanyahu and that he "thanked Canada for its friendship and principled position this week at the UN."

Andrew MacDougall, the PM's spokesman, said in an email to The Canadian Press that Netanyahu called Harper but had no further comment.

The vote to raise the Palestinians to non-voting observer state status passed at the UN General Assembly 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

Foreign Affairs John Baird blasted the UN for what he called a "regrettable decision" to allow the vote, and told the General Assembly it would undermine attempts to reach a comprehensive, lasting and just settlement for both sides.

The next day, Baird announced that Canada was temporarily recalling senior diplomats from Israel, the West Bank and the UN missions in New York and Geneva. Canada’s $300-million in aid spending for the Palestinians is also under review.


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