Palestine Flag, Gaza Oct 2011

 

Iceland ‘first Western European country to take this step,’ according to Iceland’s Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson.  

 

Iceland …..SaebPress/News agencies

 

Iceland’s parliament voted on Tuesday in favour of recognizing Palestine as an independent state, and stated the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. Iceland is the first Western European country to do so according to Iceland’s foreign minister.

The vote paves the way for formal recognition by the  north Atlantic island, which led the way in recognizing the independence of the three Baltic States after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.

 

“Iceland is the first Western European country to take this step,”  Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson told Icelandic state broadcaster RUV. “I now have the formal authority to declare our recognition of Palestine.”

 

The Icelandic parliament decided to back a resolution allowing for the recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders of the Six-Day War of 1967.

 

“At the same time, parliament urges Palestinians and ‘Israelis’ to seek a peace agreement on the basis of international law and UN resolutions, which include the mutual recognition of the state of Israel and the state of Palestine,” said the resolution, proposed by the foreign minister.

The resolution stated the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and also called on all sides to cease any violence.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to the report

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