Argentina's government has announced that it recognizes the Palestinian territories as an independent state within their pre-1967 borders, following a similar move days earlier by neighboring Brazil.
The Argentine foreign ministry said Monday that President Cristina Fernandez had informed her Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, of the decision in a letter.
The ministry said the recognition is in response to a request made by Mr. Abbas during a visit to Argentina last year. It comes three days after Brazil's recognition, also in response to a similar request.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said Monday that he expects Uruguay and Paraguay to recognize Palestinian statehood in the next few days, followed by Bolivia and Ecuador.
Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said more than 100 countries have recognized Palestine as a state within the borders it had before Israel seized control of the West Bank in 1967.
Israel's foreign ministry called Argentina's announcement "regrettable," and said it would not change the situation between Israel and the Palestinians.
U.S. lawmakers last week had condemned Brazil's recognition as "severely misguided" and "regrettable."
The announcements by the South American countries come as Middle East peace talks remain suspended. The Palestinians withdrew from direct negotiations when Israel in September refused to extend a temporary freeze on new settlement construction in the West Bank.
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