Suriname, the former Dutch colony, today became the latest South American country to recognize a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, according to Palestinian Authority Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Al-Malki said.



Surinamese President Desi Bouterse sent a letter to his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas via the Palestinian ambassador in Brazil, Al-Malki said.  This was also confirmed by the Suriname Mission to the United Nations in New York.



According to Al Malki, President Bouterse expressed Suriname's support for Palestinian national rights and the establishment of a state on 1967 borders in the letter which was also sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.



Suriname is a multi -ethnic and multi -religious democracy made up of Jews, Arabs, Africans, Chinese, Amerindians, Hindustanis and Indonesians. Muslims make up 20% of the population and are mostly of Hindustani and Indonesian decent.

 

In the mid 17th century Suriname and Brazil had the largest Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere.  The Jews of Suriname came from Spain and Portugal via Brazil and Holland.

 

Suriname has friendly ties with Israel and Arab countries, and is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB).



In recognizing Palestine, Suriname joins a wave of other regional countries that include Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Uruguay.