Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, ahead of an official trip to Latin America, said that another country will recognize the “State of Palestine” at the end of July.
The top Palestinian diplomat made the comment in an interview with Palestine TV, the official PA channel, late last week, but did not name the country he contended would recognize the Palestinian state.
“We will come back from this visit with the recognition of one of the states,” he said, referring to his multi-day tour in Latin American countries.
Malki said he will be returning to the West Bank at the end of July.
Malki was in Venezuela earlier this week and is now visiting Ecuador. He said that he may pass through the Caribbean’s Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the next week as well.
More than 135 countries have recognized a Palestinian state but a number of the most influential international players, including the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany, have not made such a move.
Several Ramallah-based Palestinian officials, including Malki, either declined requests for comment or did not respond to them.
Malki’s comments last week come some several months after he suggested that two countries were inching toward recognition.
“We are working with two states. We hope to obtain the recognition of the State of Palestine from these two states in very near future,” Malki told Palestine TV in April, without naming the countries.
Asked at the time whether he was referring to European states, Malki responded that one is in Europe and the other is in North America.
Israel has long argued that recognizing Palestinian statehood before a peace deal is finalized will harden the Palestinians’ negotiating positions, making it more difficult to reach an agreement.
For the past several years, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has urged the international community, especially European countries, to recognize Palestine.
“We hope the states of the European Union… will recognize the State of Palestine,” Abbas said at a press conference in Ramallah in February.
The PA president has also contended that recognition by the international community would encourage Palestinians to maintain hope for peace.