Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez on Friday formally offered his country's support for Palestine's bid to gain recognition as a sovereign state at the United Nations, during a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas here.
Fernandez also conferred on Abbas the "Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella," the highest and principal honor of the Caribbean country.
"We hope for peace and security in both sides, for Israel and for Palestine," Fernandez said, adding that the Dominican Republic "does not hesitate to recognize the legitimate right of Palestine to be recognized as a free, sovereign and independent nation."
Recognizing the statehood of Palestine would help bring about lasting peace in the Middle East and ease concerns in the entire Arab community, Fernandez said.
"We are honored by your presence because this is not only about a visit by a statesman, but an ambassador of peace, as you have always been looking for solutions to the conflicts," Fernandez told Abbas at a welcome ceremony.
Abbas said he was "moved" by Fernandez's remarks. "I don't have an expression to say thanks for those eloquent, moving and encouraging words. I see in you a grand advocate of peace and justice for all humanitarian efforts."
"What we search in the world is what you in fact are doing ... when you went to Ramallah we also realized we are not alone. For this we feel we are in the same house, which I'm in my house and also in the house of my friend," he added.
Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the central West Bank with a predominantly Muslim population, is located about 10 km north of Jerusalum.
Abbas arrived in the Dominican Republic, the first stop of his Latin American tour, earlier in the day.
The Palestinian leader will also travel to El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia to seek support for Palestine's bid to be recognized as the UN's 194th member.