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Uruguay Recognizes PA as Sovereign Nation, France Defers

Uruguay joins a parade of Latin American nations recognizing the Palestinian Authority as independent. France says it won't do so on its own.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 3/16/2011, 1:03 PM / Last Update: 3/16/2011, 1:28 PM

Israel news photo montage

Uruguay has joined the parade of Latin American nations choosing to officially recognize the Palestinian Authority as an independent nation.

Foreign Minister Luis Almagro said in a statement that Uruguay communicated its intent to the Palestinian Authority.  However, there was no indication as to whether Uruguay would recognize specific borders for the entity, the Associated Press reported.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told reporters also on Tuesday that France would not recognize the PA as a country, according to the AFP news agency. He said, however, there was a possibility the entire European Union might decide to do so. “Personally, we're not there yet,” he said, but “I think that it's a possibility that should be kept in mind.”

Ireland also upgraded its diplomatic relations with the PA earlier in the week, evoking a harsh response from Israeli officials, but it did not recognize the entity as a country.

Denmark announced March 11 and the UK announced March 7 they would both upgrade the diplomatic status of the PA to a "mission." British Foreign Secretary William Hague made the announcement one day ahead of talks with PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who also met with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen made the announcement March 10 during a visit by Abbas to Copenhagen, citing similar moves by France, Norway, Ireland, Spain and Britain. He added that Denmark was not considering official recognition of any independent national status for the PA.

The news, announced last Thursday, came barely 24 hours before terrorists linked to Abbas's Fatah faction claimd they slashed and stabbed to death five members of the Fogel family. The two parents and three children, including a 3-month-old baby, were murdered in their beds on the Sabbath in the Jewish community of Itamar, located in the hills of Samaria – not far from Abbas's Ramallah-based headquarters.

The PA has continued to insist on its demand to establish itself as a new Arab state along Israel's 1949 Armistice lines, which predate the Jewish State's borders that followed the defensive Six-Day War it fought with surrounding Arab nations in 1967.

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay have all recognized the PA as a country in the past year, using the pre-1967 borders. Two other nations – Chile and Peru – both said the issue of borders must be negotiated with Israel.