BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany said it would abstain in a vote on Thursday at the U.N. General Assembly that is seen as an indirect recognition of Palestinian statehood, citing its special responsibility to Israel and fears that the move could hamper peace.

“The chancellor and I did not take this decision lightly,” Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr.

“It is a balanced and carefully considered decision. On the one hand we see the Palestinians’ justified desire for their own state, but on the other hand we recognize our special responsibility to Israel, and for peaceful and stable development in the region,” he added.

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