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
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.