Palestine Cyprus - AP - 28.1.2011
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, left, and Cypriot Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou during a press conference in Nicosia Friday, Jan 28, 2011. Photo by AP
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Cyprus has recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said on Sunday, following similar recent declarations coming mostly from South American states.

On Friday, Paraguay's government too said it recognized a Palestinian state based on pre-Six-Day War borders, following similar moves by other South American countries in recent months.

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay have also recently recognized a Palestinian state along the pre-war borders. Chile and Peru have given their recognition to a Palestinian state as well, but without specifying borders.

Within the European sphere there has been less of an inclination to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, however, a growing trend to upgrade Palestinian missions to embassies has emerged. Prominent European states who have already announced this upgrade include France, Spain and Ireland.

The Israeli assessment is that Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg, Austria and perhaps other states are considering a similar move.
According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA report on Sunday, the EU member decided to break ranks, sending Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a letter from Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias, in which he reportedly recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

According to the WAFA report, Christofias wrote in his letter to Abbas of the "historic deep relations" between Palestine and Cyprus, stating his hope that a peace agreement would be reached which would ensure an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Last week, the Foreign Ministry reprimanded Ireland's ambassador to Israel Breifne O'Reilly for the nation's decision to upgrade the Palestinian mission, saying Israel was "very disappointed" and that "this does not contribute to the peace process in any way."

O'Reilly reminded the FM official that Ireland had already stated its intention to upgrade the Palestinian mission to an embassy, and promote the head of the mission to the status of ambassador.

The reported recognition of Palestine by Cyprus comes as a relative surprise amidst efforts to strengthen ties between Israel and Cyprus. Israel is attempting to form new Mediterranean alliances after falling out with former major ally Turkey in the aftermath of Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May of last year.