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Iceland recognises Palestinian state

16 December 2011, 09:12

Reykjavik - Iceland formally recognised the Palestinian state at a ceremony in Reykjavik on Thursday, becoming one of the first Western European countries to do so.

"This is the day I formally submit to you the declaration of Palestine independence in accordance with the will of the Icelandic parliament," Icelandic Foreign Minister Oessur Skarphedinsson said, addressing his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki at a news conference.

The two were also scheduled to announce the establishment of diplomatic relations, according to a statement from the Icelandic foreign ministry.

The ceremony at the Reykjavik Culture House follows a vote in the Icelandic parliament, or Allthingi, on November 29 in favour of recognising the Palestinian state on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war.

It also comes two days after the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time above a UN agency, flying over the Unesco headquarters in Paris as Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas attended a ceremony marking his people's historic admission to the education, science and culture body.

Admission to Unesco has however had no impact on the Palestinians' bid for full UN membership. They would need nine votes out of 15 in the Security Council, but the US has made clear that it would veto the bid.

More than 100 countries around the world have recognised the Palestinian state.

Within the EU, of which Iceland is not a member, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Malta have officially recognised Palestine.


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