Norway, Ireland, Spain Say Will Recognise Palestinian State

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Madrid: Norway, Ireland and Spain announced on Wednesday that they will recognise a Palestinian state from May 28, sparking delight from Palestinian leaders.

While the three nations hope other European countries will follow suit, France said it believed now is not the right moment for it to do so.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store made the announcement in Oslo, Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Madrid and Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris in Dublin.

Norway -- which has played a key role in Middle East diplomacy over the years, hosting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at the beginning of the 1990s which led to the Oslo Accords -- said recognition was needed to support moderate voices amid the Gaza war.

"In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured, we must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike: Two states, living side by side, in peace and security," Store said, adding that the moves could give renewed momentum for peace talks.

Spain's Sanchez said recognition was needed to reinforce the two-state solution, which he said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was jeopardising with the offensive in the Gaza Strip.

And Ireland's Harris drew parallels with the recognition of the Irish state in 1919.

"From our own history, we know what it means," he went on, referring to Ireland's declaration of independence from British rule, which eventually led to formal statehood.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation, seen internationally as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, hailed the moves as "historical" while Jordan called it an "important and essential step".

Hamas in a statement hailed the move as "an important step towards affirming our right to our land", while Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas political bureau member, said the move will mark "a turning point in the international position on the Palestinian issue".


The Peninsula

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