Recognising Palestine as independent state vital for a long-lasting peace - Nordic countries' ambassadors

"Norway has a long history of engaging with the situation in Palestine for 30 years, we have been active in the attempts to create a two-state solution."

24 May 2024 03:19pm
Sweden Ambassador Joachim Bergström (left), Finland Ambassador Sami Leino (middle) and Norway Ambassador Morten Paulsen (right)
Sweden Ambassador Joachim Bergström (left), Finland Ambassador Sami Leino (middle) and Norway Ambassador Morten Paulsen (right)

KUALA LUMPUR - Recognition of Palestine as an independent state is needed to ensure a long-lasting peace in the region, says Nordic countries' ambassadors.

Norway Ambassador to Malaysia Morten Paulsen highlighted his country's long history of engagement with the Palestinian situation and how it had been actively finding solutions.

"Norway has a long history of engaging with the situation in Palestine for 30 years, we have been active in the attempts to create a two-state solution.

"Now, we believe it is the right moment to recognise Palestine as an independent state," Paulsen told reporters when met at Nordic Day 2024 event held at Seputeh Glasshouse, here.

He pointed to the recent initiative by Saudi Arabia that linked the recognition of Israel with a two-state solution as a significant motivator for Norway's decision.

"Our support for this initiative aims to move in the right direction and there is no other solution than the two-state solution. We hope that this is releasing momentum with other states coming following us," he said.

Paulsen expressed optimism that other European countries might soon join this movement.

"I'm not aware of who those countries are, but I understand there is a group that might follow the three first countries from Europe," he said.

Related Articles:

Meanwhile, Sweden Ambassador to Malaysia Joachim Bergström reflected on his country's decade-old recognition of Palestine.

"The issue of Israel and Palestine is a conflict and a serious situation that has been continuing for decades.

"Like our Nordic fellows, Sweden has had a long-standing commitment to supporting the peace process towards a negotiated solution between Israel and Palestine and all our countries have also been very active in supporting the humanitarian situation in the affected areas," he said.

He further said that in 2014, Sweden recognised Palestine with two primary goals.

"First, to instil hope in the two-state solution, which we feel is the only way forward but this solution of course has to be negotiated between the parties.

"The other reason was to not only instil hope but also to put the negotiating partners or parties on more eye level," he stressed.

In recognising the Palestinian statehood, Sweden also wanted to elevate the status of the Palestinian and its cause in order to push the peace process forward.

"Today, we still believe that any long-lasting and sustainable solution to this conflict has to be negotiated and between the parties, of course with strong support and encouragement from the international community and of course with important processes and elements of the United Nations," he said.

Echoing the sentiments of his Nordic counterparts, Finland Ambassador to Malaysia Sami Leino, reiterated his country's concerns about the situation.

"Finland is very worried about the situation and we've been for a long time working hard and advocating for negotiated and sustainable two-state solutions as the only way forward and solution to the current crisis," he stated.

Leino said humanitarian issues are also at the forefront of Finland's concerns.

"Of course, humanitarian issues are among the most topical issues. I think in all our countries in Finland, we have been long-time funders and supporters of the UN relief agency and also contributed to the European Union for the relief efforts in Palestine.

"Of course, we follow the situation with concern and various initiatives and efforts," he said.

On Wednesday, Norway, Ireland and Spain announced that they would recognise a Palestinian state, prompting Israel to immediately recall its envoys.

Ireland's leader said his nation would recognise Palestine as a state but did not specify timing, while leaders of Norway and Spain said their nations would do so as of May 28.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store made the announcement in Oslo, Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Madrid and Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris in Dublin.

Israel immediately announced it was recalling its envoys to Ireland and Norway for "urgent consultations".

In 2014, Sweden, which has a large Palestinian community, became the first EU member in Western Europe to recognise Palestinian statehood.

It had earlier been recognised by six other European countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

Israel's retaliatory offensive had so far killed at least 35,647 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.