Iceland Recognizes Palestine
Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and Dr. Riad Malki, the Foreign Minister of Palestine, today formally confirmed the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Iceland and Palestine. The Icelandic Foreign Minister presented to Dr. Malki a diplomatic note stating that as resolved with the Parliamentary Resolution of 29 November 2011 the Government of Iceland has, as of 15 December 2011, recognized Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders.
At the press conference the Icelandic Foreign Minister said that with this recognition the Government of Iceland follows through on its previous pledges of support for the Palestinian struggle for independence. The minister thanked Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament, for the broad support it showed the Palestinian cause and said it was important that the Parliamentary Resolution was passed unopposed. He said the recognition of Palestine was a matter of justice and reiterated Icelandic support for Palestinian membership of the United Nations.
Dr. Malki said the relationship between Iceland and Palestine is unique and conveyed to the Government of Iceland, Parliament and the Icelandic people the deep appreciation of his president and of the Palestinian people. He said Iceland's decision was important as Palestine is now recognized for the first time by a Western and Northern European country. Dr. Malki said he expects this to have an influence on other states to follow in Iceland's footsteps, which in turn would have positive implications on the peace and security of the region as a whole. He added that 130 states now recognize Palestine which encourages them to move forward in building an independent and democratic state. Dr. Malki said the timing of the Parliamentary decision on November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, was a meaningful gesture that would remain firmly in the memory of his people.