Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will lay the cornerstone for an embassy in Brazil this week, PA representative Ibrahim al-Zeben told AFP on Tuesday.
According to al-Zeben, Abbas will head the stone-laying ceremony on Friday. On Saturday he is expected to attend the inauguration ceremony for Brazil's new president, Dilma Rousseff.
Brazil’s recognition earlier this month of a Palestinian state was met with criticism by both Israel and the United States. The Israeli government expressed its “regret and disappointment” with the decision and pointed out that “recognition of a Palestinian state is a violation of the Interim Agreement signed between Israel and the PA in 1995,” a reference to the amended Oslo Accords.
Democratic U.S. Representative Eliot Engel called the decision “severely misguided” and added that Brazil “wants to establish itself as a voice in the world but is making the wrong choices as it tries to do so.”
Argentina and Uruguay followed Brazil with a similar announcement several days later, with Argentina announcing that it recognizes a Palestinian state due its frustration at the slow progress of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman added, however, that Argentina “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'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.”
The recognition of a Palestinian state seems to have become a trend in South America, with Bolivia also having done so over the last few weeks. Earlier this week, PA officials claimed that Paraguay is also set to support a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. A statement released by the PA’s Foreign Ministry which was quoted in the PA-based Ma’an News Agency, said that Paraguay's Foreign Minister Hector Lacognata gave a spring 2011 deadline for the country's recognition of a Palestinian state on the so-called 1967 borders, lands which were occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967. Lacognata made the announcement to the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Paraguay.