LA PAZ // Bolivia on Wednesday formally recognized Palestine as an independent state, following the lead of its neighbors Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay earlier this month.
President Evo Morales told reporters that he made Bolivia's recognition official Wednesday in a letter to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.
Morales said at a press conference that he recognized Palestine as "an independent and sovereign state... as have other countries like Brazil."
Bolivia broke off relations with Israel in January 2009, after a heavy Israeli military offensive in Gaza.
Since then, "during this entire time, we have been listening and learning about the grave problems faced by the Palestinian people" he said.
"Bolivia could not continue with its arms crossed, waiting and watching, in the face of problems over human rights problems and territorial issues and sovereignty that Palestine confronts," the leftist Bolivian leader said.
Morales has accused Israel of committing "genocide" in the region and has urged the international community to take an active role in preventing it.
Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay earlier this month recognized Palestine as an independent state, drawing a harsh rebuke from Israel.