El Salvador recognizes Palestine as independent state

SAN SALVADOR - El Salvador on Thursdayrecognized Palestine as an independent state in the midst of adrive by the Arab League to upgrade it to full membershipstatus in the United Nations.

"This decision was made in the context of the profoundrespect El Salvador has for sovereign decisions by members ofthe United Nations, the majority of whom have recognized thePalestinian state," El Salvador's President Mauricio Funes tolda news conference.

Funes, who belongs to the left-wing Farabundo MartiNational Liberation Front, said he hoped his decision wouldhelp foster peace in Israel, adding that he supported thecountry's right to maintain secure borders.

About 120 countries have recognized the state of Palestineto date.

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