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Iceland recognizes state of Palestine
Published Thursday 15/12/2011 (updated) 17/12/2011 12:16
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Iceland's Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson speaks as Palestinian Foreign
Minister Riyad al-Malki looks on during a ceremony in which Iceland became
the first Western European country to recognise Palestine as an independent
state in Reykjavik on Dec. 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Ingolfur Juliusson)
REYKJAVIK (Reuters) -- Iceland on Thursday became the first west European country to formally recognize a Palestinian state, three months after the Palestinians began to seek full membership of the United Nations with peace talks with Israel frozen indefinitely.

"(This) will surely have positive influence on other states to follow the same steps," Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told a news conference in Reykjavik.

"Iceland didn't only talk the talk, we walked the walk," Icelandic Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson said. "We stood by our word, we have supported the Palestinian cause and today will not be the end of that, we will continue to do so."

East European countries that were once part of the old Soviet bloc, as well as Cyprus -- all of them now European Union members -- previously recognized Palestine.

Israel and the United States have opposed any recognition of a Palestinian state not based on the outcome of negotiations. Washington's major west European allies echo this position, but Iceland is outside the EU.

In late September, President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital. The UN at present classifies Palestine only as an observer "entity".

Iceland led the way in recognizing the independence of the three Baltic states after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Middle East peace talks have been suspended for more than a year. Abbas refuses to negotiate while Israel goes on expanding settlements on occupied West Bank land and in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after a 1967 war in a move not recognized internationally.

Malki said he wanted negotiations to restart.

"We have committed ourselves to the process of negotiations and we continue to commit ourselves to the process of negotiations with the Israelis," he said. But the peace process was "going nowhere at the moment".

Israel has said it is open to resuming negotiations without preconditions, but Palestinian leaders insist they cannot enter talks while Israel continues building settlements on lands Palestinians need for a viable independent state.

"Actually we are only seeing setbacks. The current Israeli government is not interested in peace and the international community is not doing what is needed," Malki said.
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1 ) Mel / USA
15/12/2011 21:17
Bravo Iceland! Lil' ole Iceland,over the last 18months, has definately shown the world the size of its moral,ethical,economic,popular democratic gonads!
Alas, if only our US Government was so courageous & truely democratic? But alas...with all these Faustian Fascists occupying our America,we are a mentor for nothing but greed,death and destruction,since WW2. What a waste of history books and glory!
Good job Iceland!

2 ) Peter Franzen / United Kingdom
15/12/2011 22:06
Congratulations to Iceland and shame on all those states that are stlill kissing the Zionists boots.

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
15/12/2011 22:57
So many anti-semites in Iceland. Who'd a thought? How could they have become anti-semites?

4 ) Amira / Canada
16/12/2011 01:23
Thank you Iceland!!!

To Colin Wright: the true Semite people are the Palestinians, not the Khazar converts of Europe.

5 ) silver / phil
16/12/2011 02:44
kudos for iceland in recognizing iceland. bravo! for defying the zionist pressure and shame for those who actively and indirectly subjugated the indigenous people in the holy land

6 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
16/12/2011 03:50
(Sorry about all these incomplete posts !!! ... Ma'an News Agency, just DON'T post my previously sent posts, if possible ... I didn't mean to send them ...) Here it is, for the FINAL time: So SOMEBODY now ask Iceland when IT will become a UN Security Council member !!! Then the Palestinians SHOULD have enough votes to put their UN full-member application up for a full UNSC vote, right ??? (Didn't they fail by ONLY 1 vote before ?) ... What the hell if the U.S. vetoes it ??? ... GO FOR IT !!!

7 ) Icy / Surtsey
16/12/2011 06:32
We also recognize Israel. Any congratulations, kudos, bravos for us?

8 ) Nizar / Tanzania
16/12/2011 08:41
#3 Anti-Semites? You must be kidding! Palestinians are the Semites.

9 ) Colin Wright / USA
16/12/2011 08:57
To Amira #4 'To Colin Wright: the true Semite people are the Palestinians, not the Khazar converts of Europe.' I was being sarcastic.

10 ) Kevin / UK
16/12/2011 17:45
Well done Iceland. So many countries are prepared to turn a blind eye to the crimes of Zionism, because they have been party to them. 'Never Again' was supposed to mean for Everyone!

11 ) Carlos / USA
16/12/2011 20:09
Why isnt the US government intelligent and humanitarian like Iceland? Bless Iceland! I would like to visit Iceland one day.

12 ) southparkbear / usa
17/12/2011 08:12
love it. so many people are supporting israel next 64 years of growth and strength. a debt stricken society voice support of a zero economic future society of beggers. must be a new 99%
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