Syria's Assad - AP - April 16, 2011
In this image from Syrian state television President Bashar Assad makes a speech in front of his cabinet in Damascus, Syria Saturday April 16, 2011. Photo by AP
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Syria will recognize a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the foreign ministry said Monday.

"Syria recognizes a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, and on the basis of the preservation of Palestinian legitimate rights," a statement said.

Syria "will view the Damascus office of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) as an embassy upon the publication of this statement," the ministry said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas began a visit to several European countries on Sunday to gather support for a UN vote on an independent Palestinian state.

According to the official Syrian News Agency (SANA), Abbas welcomed Syria's recognition of the Palestinian state and described it as "a major step which supports the Palestinian efforts to attain UN recognition in September."

Abbas' tour, will include visits to Norway, Spain and Turkey.

Israel and the United States oppose the Palestinian move as a unilateral step, saying the recognition of a Palestinian state should be the result of a negotiated peace agreement.