Exclusive: Norway’s recognition of Palestine as a state comes at an important time: Ambassador of Norway

Amr Yehia , Friday 24 May 2024

Norway, Ireland, and Spain have recognized a Palestinian state in a historic move. First was Norway, whose Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said “There can’t be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.”

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Despite warnings from the Israeli government, Gahr Støre said that  “ Norway will officially recognize a Palestinian state. By recognizing a Palestinian state, Norway supports the Arab peace plan. Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state.”

In her first exclusive media statement to Ahram online, the ambassador of Norway to Egypt, Hilde Klemetsdal, said Norway’s formal recognition of Palestine as a state will enter into force on Tuesday 28 May 2024. 

Klemetsdal added, “Norway’s recognition of Palestine as a state comes at an important time. We have for a long time, and in practical ways, worked to support a two-state solution by chairing, for instance, the international donor group for Palestine.” 

“A lasting solution to the conflict, with peace and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians, is only achieved through a two-state solution. Both peoples have the right to self-determination and to live in peace,” she pointed out.

Furthermore, Klemetsdal emphasized that the recognition "is a way to support the moderate forces, and it is a message that might get more countries to recognize Palestine as a state."

For a long time now, she added, Norway and other countries have thought that recognition would follow a peace agreement, but this has not been successful since there is no peace process and no political solution today.

"As our Prime Minister said, we can no longer wait for the conflict to be resolved before we recognize the state of Palestine," Klemetsdale noted.

She stressed that Norway supports the efforts to develop a comprehensive Arab peace vision and works to mobilize European support. According to Klemetsdale, Norway will chair an international partner meeting about Palestine in Brussels in a few days, where the new Palestinian prime Minister and his government will present their reform plans.

"We have some clear expectations of these reforms if the Palestinian Authority is to govern Gaza in the future," she added.

The Norwegian ambassador concluded by stressing that achieving a ceasefire, releasing the hostages, and providing enough humanitarian aid for the people in Gaza is what matters most at this point.

Similarly, Egypt and many Arab countries, including Jordan and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC), praised Norway, Ireland, and Spain's decision, calling on other countries to do the same. 

Several European Union countries have indicated that they plan to make the recognition in the past weeks, arguing that a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

In 2014, Sweden, which has a large Palestinian community, became the first EU member in Western Europe to recognise Palestinian statehood. Six European Union countries outside Western Europe had preceded Sweden in recognizing a Palestinian state, including Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

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