The Palestinian leadership has been lobbying for countries to recognise a Palestinian state [File: EPA]

Guyana has become the sixth Latin American country to recognise an independent Palestinian state.

"It is Guyana's hope that the increasing recognition of the state of Palestine will contribute to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the creation of lasting peace and stability in the region," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Guyana's decision, the statement said, "is in keeping with Guyana's long-standing and unwavering solidarity with, and commitment to, the just and legitimate aspirations of the people of Palestine for the exercise of their right to self-determination and to achieve a homeland of their own, independent, free, prosperous and at peace."

Guyana joins Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Ecuador in recognising Palestine as an independent state within the borders that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Palestinians leadership has increasingly lobbied nations for recognition as direct talks with Israel have stalled over issues including Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, border demarcation and the status of Jerusalem.

In a New Year's Eve address, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, urged the international community to come up with a new peace plan after months of US diplomacy failed to secure a settlement freeze.

Last Friday, Chile formally recognised the existence of a Palestinian state, but did not mention the issue of the borders.

Israeli officials have denounced the previous declarations of support for a Palestinian state. Chile's recognition was described as a "useless and empty gesture" that would not advance peace.

Source: Agencies