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Uruguay to recognize Palestine in 2011
Published Monday 06/12/2010 (updated) 08/12/2010 09:07
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BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Argentina and Uruguay said Monday they were joining Brazil in recognizing an independent Palestinian state, earning an immediate sharp rebuke from Israel and causing unease in the United States.

Israel called the announcement by Buenos Aires "regrettable" and said it went against an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that such a state should only be recognized with Israeli approval.

The criticism echoed that Israel made after Brazil started the South American movement on Friday by saying it recognized a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, before Israel seized and occupied Gaza and the West Bank.

President Mahmoud Abbas reached out to the governments as part of an effort to win UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

His strategy followed the suspension of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations because of Israel's renewed construction of settlements on Palestinian land after a temporary ban.

"The Argentine government recognizes Palestine as a free and independent state within the borders defined in 1967," Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said, reading a letter sent by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner wrote to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

Timerman said the recognition reflected a general consensus among members of Mercosur, the South American trade bloc.

Uruguay announced soon afterward it will recognize a Palestinian state next year.

"Uruguay will surely follow the same path as Argentina in 2011," deputy foreign minister Roberto Conde told AFP.

"We are working towards opening a diplomatic representation in Palestine, most likely in Ramallah," he said.

Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay all make up Mercosur. Venezuela's membership is pending.

Argentina was making the move based on its "deep desire to see a definitive advance in the negotiation process leading to the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East," Timerman said.

The Palestinian ambassador in Argentina reacted with "joy and enthusiasm" to the announcement and said it expected other South American countries to follow suit.

Israel has already reacted with "sadness and disappointment" to Brazil's declaration on the issue, saying it breached a 1995 agreement it had with the Palestinian Authority that any Palestinian state should only come about through negotiations with it.

US lawmakers have already called Brazil's decision "severely misguided" and "regrettable."

Western countries have agreed that any definition of a Palestinian state required Israeli approval. The United States has consistently protected Israel's position in the UN Security Council.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who had sought a mediator role in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, made his decision shortly before he is to stand down on January 1 next year.

His protegee and former cabinet chief, Dilma Rousseff, has been elected to take over from him. She has pledged to pursue his policies.

The announcements by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay come as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians teeter on the brink of collapse following the end of the temporary ban on Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday he did "not see any reason" to extend the settlement freeze.

Abbas has said the Palestinian side will not return to negotiations while Israel continues to build on land the Palestinians want for their state.

He has repeatedly said he would explore other options if the peace talks collapse -- including asking for UN recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
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1 ) Nour / Palestine
06/12/2010 20:40
Southparktrash, Ben Wacko, Phil, et. al. are left naked before the truth.... Justice will be served. End of story.

2 ) Hussam / Palestine
06/12/2010 20:49
Muchas Gracias Argentina y Uruguay! "US lawmakers have already called Brazil's decision "severely misguided" and "regrettable." How absurd! Let us remind you "US lawmakers" that the American declaration of Independence did not have the Imperial British nod! Get over it AIPAC and "US lawmakers" the tides have changed in the 21st century and Apartheid is no more!!

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
06/12/2010 21:10
'it went against an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that such a state should only be recognized with Israeli approval.' Happily, Argentina wasn't a signatory to the agreement, so there isn't a problem. Isn't that nice?

4 ) Sean M Wood / Scotland
06/12/2010 22:33
Yes Yes Yes Excelent. I speak as one who has worked in Brazil travled and throughout South America. My whole hearted support for this growing movement from the governments in latin America as the begin to assert their independance from decades of American Imperialism. Yes Good on them.

5 ) Daniel Lubetzky / USA and Mexico
07/12/2010 01:06
As a proud supporter of Israel's right to exist as the sole homeland of the Jewish people, I am equally proud of Mercosur's decision to uphold Palestine's right to Statehood within the 67 borders for the Palestinian people. A comprehensive agreement would be far superior to unilateral declarations. But if the Israeli and Palestinians political representatives have no ability to get there, building Palestine and international recognition are good for all. Be part of it at www.Imagine2018.org

6 ) Joe Fattal / USA
07/12/2010 01:19
Causing unease in the US. Why the US is sponsoring any peace talks when a future Palestinian State is already being somehow disproved by the US?. Wasn't the peace talks are meant to be the basis for a future Palestinian State?. I just don't understand why we are somehow compel to read and follow that peace process when somehow the architect of the whole process which is the US and Israel is relying on a dead end to pursuit any hope that is build on lies.

7 ) Amira / Canada
07/12/2010 01:37
The tide is turning and Justice is marching. Palestine being recognized by more and more states!

The barbaric regime and its torturers are now realizing that there is no "chosen" when being hit by Natural Justice. No tanks, no billions, no fanatic rabinic prayers would do.

8 ) Arnold / Canada
07/12/2010 01:49
So Abbas and the people are excited that Brazil , argentina, Uruguay and other countries are recognizing a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. Well why the heck did the Palestinians themselves not done the same in 1947. We could all have saved ourselves a lot of lives. What a waste.

9 ) ron / uk
07/12/2010 04:13
Hope Hussam doesn't mind me seconding his Muchas Gracias Argentina y Uruguay! This is getting better by the day! A question, any idea which other countries/states recognise Palestine in the way Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay now do? Any time-table for eu recognition?

10 ) Niva dos Santos / Brazil
07/12/2010 06:08
I'm proud to be a south-american! And I send my best cheers to all the guys above (1,2 and 3), for their smart and honest words! Be proud you too!!! VIVA A PALESTINA!

11 ) Leena / USA/Palestine
07/12/2010 08:28
Amazing.
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