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Palestine joins UNESCO

PARIS -- Palestinians raised their flag at the headquarters of the UN cultural agency in Paris yesterday as the agency's 195th member, a historic move and symbolic boost for their push for an independent state.

Cheers rose as the red, black, white and green flag went up in pouring rain under the gaze of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. She welcomed Palestine without mentioning the U.S. funding cutoff that its membership prompted and that is hobbling the organization.

Abbas said the Palestinian people were deeply moved that their flag could join the 194 others at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, headquartered on Paris' Left Bank. -- AP

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