Guatemala has recognized “Palestine” as a sovereign state, claiming such a move will help foster peace in the Middle East, the president's office announced Tuesday.
Guatemala "has decided to join the vast majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries and recognize the State of Palestine, as a free, sovereign and independent State," the statement said, according to AFP.
"This decision in no way altars Guatemala's long tradition of friendship and cooperation with the State of Israel, a relationship the Guatemalan Government highly values," the statement added.
Guatemala wants talks between "the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, backed by the international community, to gain new momentum," the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has ruled out any return to the peace process, which has remained at a standstill since 2010, until Israel agrees to freeze all Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem; releases all prisoners held in Israel detentionl; and resolve the so-called “refugee” issue. Abbas has said that he wants Netanyahu to present a map of the borders of a future “Palestinian” state before talks can resume.
"It would be insane to present such a map, giving up our most important asset, without the Palestinians having committed themselves to anything," a high-ranking Israeli official told Israel’s Maariv newspaper on Monday.
Visiting the region, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought to pursue a "quiet strategy" for breaking the years-long impasse.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday, Kerry said he was "intensely focused" on advancing the peace process seen as "vital" to US and regional interests.