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Eamon Gilmore addressing the General Assembly last night AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

Eamon Gilmore tells UN: Palestinian state is "long overdue"

The Tánaiste also described events in Syria as “an affront to humanity”.

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has told the United Nations General Assembly that a Palestinian state is “long overdue”.

In a speech last night, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs said that Ireland welcomed plans for an interim step in the bid for statehood that will see the Palestinian Authority upgraded to an official non-member observer status at the UN.

He told the Assembly that both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict need to embark on serious negotiations to find peace in the region.

Gilmore also said that Ireland supports calls for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. He described the massacres and violence in Syria as “an affront to humanity”. He told the Assembly:

If the events in the Arab world over the past two years have taught us anything, it is that leaders who deny the legitimate demands for greater political and economic freedom, and who instead resort to waging war on their own people, will inevitable lose the right to rule.

He called for increased targeted sanctions, including an arms embargo, against Syria’s government.

The head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for Palestine to become the 194th member state of the United Nations at last year’s General Assembly. Israel made it clear that it would veto the application.

More than 120 ministers and leaders from around the world are meeting at the United Nations General Assembly this week to discuss international affairs, including increased tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme and the Arab Spring.

- Additional reporting by Associated Press

Read: Frustration and turmoil as world leaders meet for UN general assembly >

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