Uruguay officially recognizes Palestinian state

Colombia remains only nation in region not to follow Brazil’s lead; Like Chile and Peru, Uruguay recognizeds Palestinian state without specifying borders.

March 17, 2011 01:40
2 minute read.
Palestinian Flag

Palestinian Flag 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Uruguay recognized a Palestinian state on Tuesday, becoming the 10th South American country to do so.

Colombia is the only nation in the region that has not followed the lead of Brazil, which made the move in December.

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Considered Israel’s closest friend on the continent, the government in Bogota has indicated that it does not intend to follow suit.

Like Chile and Peru, Uruguay recognized a Palestinian state without specifying borders. This, according to one Uruguayan Foreign Ministry source, was to avoid “interfering in an issue that would require a bilateral agreement.”

One Israeli Foreign Ministry official termed the move “recognition lite.”

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia have recognized a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines.

The Uruguayan Foreign Ministry said the decision to recognize a Palestine state showed Uruguay’s firm commitment to the Middle East peace process.

“We have a longing shared by most of the international community that in the near future, the Palestinian and Israeli people can coexist in peace,” a ministry statement said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor responded by saying Uruguay’s announcement “does not bring the Palestinians to a real state.”

“If anyone wants to help the Palestinians achieve statehood, they should convince them to return to direct talks without further delay,” Palmor said.

One diplomatic official said even more worrying than Uruguay’s announcement was a statement made Tuesday by France’s new foreign minister, Alain Juppe, who said that while France would not recognize a Palestinian state on its own, the possibility of the entire European Union doing so “should be kept in mind.”

The official said the widely respected Juppe speaks “responsibly and with authority,” and that his words should be taken seriously.

According to the official, Juppe’s comments indicate that while the EU has no intention of recognizing a Palestinian state before the September deadline mentioned in a recent Quartet statement, if a state is not agreed upon by that time the EU might consider a “plan B,” of which unilateral recognition could be a part.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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