Argentina's government has announced that it recognizes the Palestinian territories as an independent state within their pre-1967 borders, following a similar move days earlier by neighboring Brazil.The Argentine foreign ministry said Monday that President Cristina Fernandez had informed her Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, of the decision in a letter.The ministry said the recognition is in response to a request made by Mr. Abbas during a visit to Argentina last year. It comes three days after Brazil's recognition, also in response to a similar request.Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said Monday that he expects Uruguay and Paraguay to recognize Palestinian statehood in the next few days, followed by Bolivia and Ecuador.Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said more than 100 countries have recognized Palestine as a state within the borders it had before Israel seized control of the West Bank in 1967.Israel's foreign ministry called Argentina's announcement "regrettable," and said it would not change the situation between Israel and the Palestinians.U.S. lawmakers last week had condemned Brazil's recognition as "severely misguided" and "regrettable." The announcements by the South American countries come as Middle East peace talks remain suspended. The Palestinians withdrew from direct negotiations when Israel in September refused to extend a temporary freeze on new settlement construction in the West Bank.
Brazil recognizes State of Palestine
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry has announced that it recognizes the state of Palestine based on the borders before Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.
Brazil made the decision in response to a request made earlier this year by acting Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and also in line with Brazil's support for United Nations resolutions, which demand that Israel must end the complete occupation of the Palestinian territories, Bloomberg reported. Silva sent a letter to Abbas on December 1, saying Brazil recognizes Palestine and hopes that the recognition will help lead to a situation where Israel and Palestine will "coexist peacefully and in security," the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Brazil made the announcement after the UN General Assembly concluded a two-day debate on November 30, adopting six resolutions on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East."Convinced that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the question of Palestine was imperative for lasting Middle East peace, the General Assembly today stressed the urgent need for sustained international involvement, including by the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, to support both parties in resuming stalled negotiations," the UN General Assembly said in a statement. The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 165 in favor to 7 against (Australia, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and the United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, and Tonga). US Congressman Eliot Engel criticized the Brazilian move, saying, “Brazil's decision to recognize Palestine is severely misguided and represents a last gasp by a Lula-led foreign policy which was already substantially off track.”