Guatemala backs Palestine as ‘free’ state

GUATEMALA CITY: Guatemala has recognized Palestine as a sovereign state in the belief that this will help foster peace in the Middle East, the president’s office announced Tuesday.

Guatemala “has decided to join tha vast majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries and recognize the State of Palestine, as a free, sovereign and independent State,” the statement said.

“This decision in no way alters Guatemala’s long tradition of friendship and cooperation with the State of Israel,” the statement added.

Guatemala wants talks between “the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, backed by the international community, to gain new momentum,” the statement added.

Israel continues to build on illegal settlements on the land of Palestinians despite world concerns. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has ruled out any return to negotiations until Israel stops all these illegal construction.

Court upholds decision absolving ex-prez
An appeals court has upheld a decision that absolved former President Alfonso Portillo of charges that he stole $ 15 million from Guatemala’s Defense Department, bringing an end to the case.
The appeals court announced its decision late Tuesday.
In 2011, a Guatemalan court ruled that prosecutors failed to prove through documents or witnesses that Portillo was personally involved in embezzling the Defense Department’s funds while he governed the country from 2000 to 2004.
Portillo still faces extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of money laundering related to the alleged embezzlement of $ 1.5 million in foreign donations donated by Taiwan to buy schoolbooks for Guatemalan children.
He allegedly deposited the money in Miami and transferred it to a Paris account in the name of his ex-wife and daughter.

(Source / 10.04.2013)

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