Ab­bas to lay foun­da­tion stone of Pales­tinian em­bassy in Brazil

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

RAMALLAH: Pales­tinian pres­i­dent Mah­mud Ab­bas was to travel to Brazil later on Wed­nes­day to lay the sym­bolic foun­da­tion stone of a Pales­tinian em­bassy in Brasilia.

The cer­e­mony is to take place on Fri­day and comes af­ter Brazil an­nounced it was recog­nis­ing a Pales­tinian state based on the bor­ders which ex­isted be­fore the 1967 Six-Day War when Is­rael seized the West Bank, in­clud­ing east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

On Satur­day, Ab­bas is due to at­tend the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Brazil's new pres­i­dent, Dilma Rouss­eff, and ex­pected to hold meet­ings with Latin Amer­i­can lead­ers in Brazil for the cer­e­mony.

Brazil's out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva said on De­cem­ber 3 that his coun­try would recog­nise a Pales­tinian state fol­low­ing a per­sonal request from Ab­bas.

"The de­mand pre­sented by his ex­cel­lency (Ab­bas) is just and con­sis­tent with the prin­ci­ples up­held by Brazil with re­gard to the Pales­tinian is­sue," Brazil's for­eign min­istry said.

The an­nounce­ment an­gered both Is­rael and the United States, which have said a Pales­tinian state can only be achieved through a ne­go­ti­ated peace deal.

But a string of other Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, in­clud­ing Bo­livia, Ar­gentina and Ecuador, have fol­lowed suit, and Uruguay has said it will recog­nise a Pales­tinian state on the same ba­sis in 2011.

Other Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, in­clud­ing Cuba, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Venezuela, al­ready recog­nised Pales­tinian state­hood sev­eral years ago.

The Brazil­ian recog­ni­tion comes as the Pales­tini­ans seeks bi­lat­eral recog­ni­tion of their state­hood from around the world, with their peace talks with Is­rael in an im­passe.

Di­rect peace ne­go­ti­a­tions, the first in nearly two years, were launched on Septem­ber 2 in Washington but stalled just weeks later when an Is­raeli set­tle­ment freeze in the West Bank ex­pired.

Ab­bas has re­fused to re­turn to talks while Is­rael builds on land the Pales­tini­ans want for a fu­ture state, but Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has re­fused to put a new freeze in place. The United States has pro­posed the two sides re­sume in­di­rect talks.

The Pales­tini­ans have re­fused and said they will turn in­stead to al­ter­na­tive op­tions, in­clud­ing bi­lat­eral recog­ni­tion of state­hood and go­ing to the United Na­tions to seek recog­ni­tion. Ab­bas vis­ited Brazil in 2005 and 2009, while Lula made the first ever trip by a Brazil­ian head of state to Is­rael and the Pales­tinian territories in March of this year. -Afp

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