RAMALLAH, West Bank, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Bolivia has recognized Palestine as an independent sovereign state following Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Uruguay, the Palestinian president said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told London's al-Sharq-al-Awasat he welcomed the announcement and praised bilateral ties between the two countries.
Abbas said he learned of Bolivia's decision last week during a telephone conversation with Bolivian President Evo Morales. He said Ecuador also intends to make a similar announcement in the coming days.
Abbas said the P.A. will seek to convince more Latin American and Asian countries to officially recognize a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders. He also praised the Norwegian government, which he said upgraded the status of the Palestinian mission in the country from a general delegation to a diplomatic mission.
In an interview broadcast Saturday night on Israel's Channel Two, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad expressed optimism concerning a peace agreement with Israel and said an independent Palestinian state could be established by August next year.
"In the past, too much time was wasted on the process, but we should not be discouraged because we have failed before, we should not give up," The Jerusalem Post quoted him saying.