Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told government colleagues that she intends for Australia to abstain from a U.N. General Assembly vote on Palestinians becoming a nonmember observer state.

The Palestinians said the General Assembly will vote on Thursday on a resolution raising their status at the United Nations from an observer to a nonmember observer state in a move they believe is an important step toward a two-state solution with Israel.

In Australia, an official spokesman for a ruling Labor Party said on Tuesday that Ms Gillard told lawmakers that she had found government members had “some sharply held and different views” on the subject.

The spokesman told reporters on the usual condition of anonymity for such briefings that Ms Gillard said she intends for Australia to abstain from the vote.

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