Ma'an News Agency
January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

Peru recognized a "free and sovereign" Palestinian state Monday, joining a wave of Latin American countries.

"Today the government communicated to the ambassador of Palestine in Lima recognition of the Palestinian state as free and sovereign," said Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Belaunde.

The Peruvian foreign minister contacted the Palestinian ambassador to Peru, Walid Abdul-Rahim, to inform him that his country decided to recognize a Palestinian state.

Brazil led the move to recognize Palestine late last year, and has since been joined by Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Guyana. Uruguay and Paraguay have stated publicly that recognition for a state will come in 2011.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki applauded Peru’s recognition.

“This is the eighth recognition of its kind in Latin America. It adds to the success of Palestinian diplomatic efforts aimed at getting as many countries as possible in the world to recognize Palestinian state. This recognition is a direct reaction to all attempts by the Israeli government to stop countries of the world from recognizing the Palestinian right to establish independent state,” he said in a statement.

An Israeli official earlier this month dismissed recognition of a Palestinian state by the Latin American nations as "a useless and empty gesture because it will not change anything."

But with peace talks stalled, the Palestinians have said they are considering new diplomatic options and have welcomed the recognition.

Belaunde did not say what borders Peru recognized, only that details of the decision would come later.

"Peru since 1947 has maintained in the United Nations that there should exist a state of Israel, with secure borders, and a Palestinian state," he said. "That has been the position that Peru has permanently maintained."

Belaunde also stressed that Monday's announcement was not the result of "pressure from either side."

Brazil and some of the other South American countries have recognized Palestine within the 1967 borders, which include East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, lands occupied by Israel in the Six Day War.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, a position not supported by the international community or the Palestinians, who hope to establish the capital of their own future state there.

US-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks last collapsed in September 2010 when a limited moratorium on Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories expired.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017