Bolivia has formally recognized Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within the 1967 borders, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced Wednesday. Reports last week indicated that such a decision was imminent.

Morales told a press conference at the presidential palace in La Paz that he planned to write to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, informing him of the decision.

Bolivia severed diplomatic ties with Israel in January 2009 over its three-week military offensive in Gaza.

Earlier this month, Brazil and Argentina recognized Palestine as an independent state within its borders prior to 1967, in decisions that the United States and Israel slammed as counterproductive and damaging.

Venezuela also recognizes Palestine as a sovereign state, while Uruguay has announced plans to do so next year.

Legislators from ruling and opposition parties in Chile have stepped by pressure on the government of President Sebastian Pinera to grant the same recognition to Palestine. Chile has a large Palestinian community of more than 300,000 people.

The U.S.House of Representatives, meanwhile, unanimously approved a resolution opposing unilateral declaration of Palestinian state. Representative Howard Berman, who sponsored the bill said: "Lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties."

The European Union has decided to "wait until appropriate" to recognize any unilateral declaration, the Palestinian Authority has begun contacting individual states for support on the matter.