Bolivia latest state to recognize ‘State of Palestine’

By
December 17, 2010 19:18

President Evo Morales makes announcement in Brazil, suggests state should be along 1967 borders.

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Bolivia's President Evo Morales

Bolivia President Evo Morales. (photo credit:AP Photo/Juan Karita)

Bolivia on Friday announced its intention to recognize Palestine as an independent state inside the 1967 lines, joining Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay that have taken similar steps in recent weeks.

According to AFP, Bolivian President Evo Morales made the announcement in Paraguay, and said his government would send a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the coming days recognizing Palestinian as “an independent and sovereign state.”

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An Israeli government official reacted to the statement by saying that “if the Palestinians think the road to statehood goes through La Paz, they are sadly mistaken.

The only road to statehood is through negotiation and a peace agreement with Israel.”

Bolivia’s move only “strengthens the Palestinian illusion that there might be a substitute to talks with Israel,” the official said.

Countries that announced recognition of a Palestinian state “are inadvertently harming the peace process by strengthening those on the Palestinian side who want to avoid direct engagement,” he said.

Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador are the countries in South America with the closest ties to Iran. Bolivia cut ties with Israel in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead.

The Bolivian move follows similar actions taken over the past few weeks by Brazil and Argentina, with Uruguay announcing that it will recognize a Palestinian state in 2011.

Abbas welcomed the move and thanked Bolivia for its support and bilateral relations.

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South American countries recognize Palestinian state

The Bolivian president reportedly spoke with Abbas three days before the announcement.

In light of the announcements by South American countries, Palestinian negotiators last week asked European countries to recognize a Palestinian state, even without a peace deal with Israel.

The EU, however, made clear in a statement following a meeting of its foreign ministers last week, as well as in a statement put out by its foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday, that a peace agreement needed to be reached through negotiations.

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