Paraguay Joins Latin American Neighbors in Recognizing Palestinian State

PALESTINE / ISRAEL, 31 January 2011

by Reuters – Haaretz

Paraguay FM: Israel-Palestinian negotiations essential for peace and security; summit to be held next month between Latin America and Arab countries.

Paraguay’s government said on Friday [28 Jan 2011] it had decided to recognize a Palestinian state based on borders before the 1967 war, following similar moves by other South American countries in recent months.

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay have recently recognized a Palestinian state along the pre-war borders. Chile and Peru have also given recognition to a Palestinian state, but without specifying borders.

Announcing the decision, Paraguay’s Foreign Ministry said “bilateral negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, which are currently at a standstill, are essential for both peace and security.”

Israel disputes the Palestinian claim on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas it captured from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967, and peace negotiations have stalled numerous times over the last few years.

Direct peace talks revived by Washington in September after a year’s suspension collapsed after Israel refused to renew a freeze on construction in West Bank settlements. A U.S. drive to keep the process alive via third-party talks is in limbo.

Israel said last month the recognition of a Palestinian state by Latin American countries was “highly damaging interference” by countries that were never part of the Middle East peace process.

United States Under Secretary of State William Burns said in a recent visit to Chile that the move by Latin American nations was premature.

“It’s only through negotiation between the parties themselves, Palestinians and Israelis, that we’ll be able to realize the two-state solution,” he said.

Paraguay’s move comes just before a summit between Latin American and Arab countries, which will be held in Lima in February.

Go to Original – haaretz.com

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