Thailand has formally announced its recognition of Palestine as an independent state, making the Southeast Asian country the first country to recognize Palestine in 2012.
The Palestinian Authority said on Thursday that the Palestinian delegation at the UN received a formal letter from the Thai government, saying it has "officially recognized the state of Palestine and officially informed all permanent and observer missions to the United Nations in New York of this development."
The letter said that Thailand recognized the Palestinian state along the lines that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War.
The acting Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki hailed the move, saying, "Thailand’s recognition of a Palestinian state is the first of the New Year 2012 and is a new achievement for Palestinian diplomacy."
Maliki added that Thailand’s recognition brings to 131 the number of countries that have recognized a Palestinian state.
Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas also thanked Thailand for the move.
“Official procedures have begun on the establishment of diplomatic relations,” Abbas said in a statement.
In September 2011, Abbas formally asked the United Nations to fully recognize Palestine as a member state. The United States has, however, threatened to veto the bid and has been lobbying UN member countries to vote against the motion.
Palestine currently has ‘observer’ status at the UN but could successfully win full membership at the UN cultural organization, UNESCO, in October 2011.