Ar­gentina: Pales­tine is free and in­de­pen­dent state

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

BUENOS AIRES: Ar­gentina has an­nounced that it rec­og­nizes the Pales­tinian territories as a free and in­de­pen­dent state within their 1967 bor­ders, a step it said re­flects frus­tra­tion at the slow progress of peace talks with Is­rael.

Pres­i­dent Cristina Fer­nan­dez in­formed Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas of the de­ci­sion, which fol­lows a sim­i­lar move by Brazil, Ar­gen­tine For­eign Min­is­ter Hector Timer­man said.

Ar­gentina is "deeply frus­trated" that the goals of the 1991 peace talks in Madrid and the Oslo Ac­cords of 1993 still have not been reached, Timer­man said. "The time has come to rec­og­nize Pales­tine as a free and in­de­pen­dent state," he said.

He stressed that Ar­gentina also " rat­i­fies its ir­rev­o­ca­ble po­si­tion in fa­vor of the right of Is­rael to be rec­og­nized by ev­ery­one and to live in peace and se­cu­rity within its bor­ders."

Ar­gentina has a deep in­ter­est in see­ing Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans agree to a deep and last­ing peace in the Mid­dle East, Timer­man said. "Ar­gentina's de­ci­sion to rec­og­nize the Pales­tine state is based in the de­sire of its au­thor­i­ties to fa­vor the process of ne­go­ti­a­tion aimed at end­ing the con­flict."

Pales­tinian For­eign Min­is­ter Riad Malki re­joiced at Ar­gentina's de­ci­sion, which comes three days af­ter Brazil's recog­ni­tion.

He told The As­so­ci­ated Press that he ex­pects Uruguay and Paraguay to rec­og­nize Pales­tinian state­hood in the next few days, fol­lowed by Bo­livia and Ecuador.

"It is re­ally sym­bolic but it is im­por­tant be­cause the more coun­tries that rec­og­nize the Pales­tinian state, the more pres­sure this will put on coun­tries that are hes­i­tant and on the peace process.

If Is­rael keeps re­fus­ing to rec­og­nize the Pales­tinian state when other coun­tries do, this will make a dif­fer­ence," Malki said.

Timer­man said "it's im­por­tant to note that this Ar­gen­tine recog­ni­tion adds to that of more than a hun­dred states, and re­flects a grow­ing con­sen­sus in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity about the sta­tus of Pales­tine and the gen­eral in­ter­est in achiev­ing de­ci­sive ad­vances in the peace process."

The Pales­tinian Author­ity opened a diplo­matic mis­sion in Buenos Aires in 1996 and in 2008 Ar­gentina in­stalled a rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Ramallah, the West Bank.

In Novem­ber 2009, Ab­bas vis­ited with Fer­nan­dez in Ar­gentina.

Malki - who had met per­son­ally with Ar­gentina's pres­i­dent to en­cour­age recog­ni­tion - said the author­ity has been fo­cus­ing on Latin Amer­ica.

"Other coun­tries still have doubts and we are see­ing how to con­vince them to rec­og­nize Pales­tinian state," he said. -Ap

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