Paraguay recognizes Palestine as a "free and independent" state
Paraguay recognized Palestine as a "free and independent" state Friday, within the Palestinian territorial borders prior to 1967, dpa reported.
Paraguay thus joined a host of other South American countries to do the same. Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia have moved in recent weeks to recognize Palestine, in decisions that the United States and Israel slammed as counterproductive and damaging.
Venezuela also recognizes Palestine as a sovereign state, and Uruguay has announced plans to do so next year.
"Loyal to its pacifist nature, (Paraguay) has supported the efforts of the international community to cooperate in solving the territorial conflict between Palestine and Israel," the Paraguayan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Paraguay stressed "its conviction that direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestine, which are currently stalled, are crucial to attain peace and security."
South America and the Arab world are to hold in Lima their third summit, set for February 14 to 16, in a further move to boost relations between the two.