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UK will recognise Palestinian State 'at the right time'

British foreign ministry insists negotiations are 'best route' to two-state solution and peace process

Ahram Online in London, Sunday 12 Oct 2014
Grahame Morris MP
Grahame Morris (Photo: AP)
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The United Kingdom will not recognise an independent Palestinian state unless it has been agreed on between Israel and Palestine through negotiations, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Ahram Online.

The FCO's remarks come hours before the House of Commons debates a motion which calls on the government to recognise the Palestinian state.

The UK Parliament is also expected to hold a non-binding vote on the motion tomorrow.

The motion, put forward by Labour MP Grahame Morris on behalf of a number of other MPs, said "this House believes that the government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel."

Earlier this month, Sweden announced that it will recognise the state of Palestine.

However, a FCO spokeswoman said the UK "will recognise a Palestinian state at a time most helpful to the peace process, because a negotiated end to the occupation is the most effective way for Palestinian aspirations of statehood to be met on the ground."

She admits there is a high level of interest in the issue from the UK public and Parliament, pointing out that the FCO "welcomes the opportunity this debate gives for MPs to discuss this important issue".

"We reserve the right to bilaterally recognise a Palestinian state at a moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace," she said.

"We continue to believe that negotiations toward a two-state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground."

The British government has long criticised Israel's settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as a hindrance to the peace process, and is a leading donor to the Palestinian Authority.

The UK's department for international development is providing almost £350 million between 2011 and 2015 to help Palestinians build institutions, deliver essential services and relieve their humanitarian situation.

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