SAO PAULO — Brazil says it has recognized the state of Palestine based on borders at the time of Israel's 1967 conquest of the West Bank.

The Foreign Ministry says the recognition is in response to a request made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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Silva sent a letter to Abbas on Dec. 1, saying Brazil recognizes Palestine and hopes that the recognition will help lead to states of Israel and Palestine "that will coexist peacefully and in security."

The foreign ministry says that the recognition is "in line with Brazil's historic willingness to contribute to peace between Israel and Palestine."

The announcement was posted Friday on the Foreign Ministry's website.

Earlier this week, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said in an interview that Palestinians will be ready for statehood by August, as promised in a two-year action plan, and dismissed a host of steep obstacles to independence.

In August 2009, Fayyad presented a two-year plan for building state institutions, including schools, courts and infrastructure. The idea was to generate momentum for independence regardless of crisis-prone Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Fayyad said his government is becoming less dependent on foreign aid, reducing outside support for the operating budget from $1.8 billion in 2008 to $1.2 billion this year, out of a total of $3.8 billion. By 2013, he won't need any foreign help with the budget, he predicted.

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