Lebanon has decided for the first time to establish diplomatic relations with the "state of Palestine," and has approved the opening of an embassy in Beirut.
"The cabinet has approved the establishment of diplomatic relations with the state of Palestine," Information Minister Tarek Mitri said following a cabinet meeting late on Thursday.
A Palestinian embassy would replace an office in Beirut representing the Palestine Liberation Organization, but Mitri said no date had yet been fixed to implement the move.
The PLO, which is headed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and groups the main Palestinian political movements, is recognized by most country’s as representing the Palestinian people.
Abbas’s predecessor the late Yasser Arafat symbolically proclaimed the state of Palestine in 1988 but the Palestinians have yet to win independence given the lack of a peace deal with Israel.
Abbas was elected president of Palestine on Sunday by a key decision-making body of the PLO.