Norway’s Foreign Minister recognises the right of Palestine to ask for recognition by the United Nations, but stops short of full commitment until the resolution text is published.
“I disagree with those who say that the Palestinian initiative of the UN is an obstacle to negotiations”, said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Foreign Minister and the Palestinian president were in talks yesterday aimed at strengthening ties between Norway and Palestine.
President Abbas is keen to see the Palestinian state formally established in accordance with the 1967 borders prior to the Six Day War, where Israel captured large areas of territory following attacks by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
“The fundamental Norwegian view is that a people have the right to use UN institutions to clarify questions about the legitimacy of their status in the world. We are opposed to denying this to the Palestinians”, FM Støre told NRK. Yesterday’s developments included him supporting the Palestinians’ right to self-determination without formally endorsing any possible UN resolution.
The Palestinian President was feeling confident after the meeting, describing Norway and Palestine as “standing shoulder-to-shoulder” with each other.
“Norway is going to say yes when they receive the text,” he said to reporters. “I hoped that Norway, when the peace process began, would recognize the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and that Norway will support our efforts to be acknowledged.”
Some Norwegian politicians greeted the news with open arms.
“I believe that there is only one answer with the strong Palestinian commitment in the Labour Party and the Coalition Parties,. Norway must support recognition and back the proposal”, said Eskil Pedersen of the Left-Wing Workers’ Youth Federation.
Yet the Christian Democratic Party opposed moves to formally recognise Palestine, saying it would “weaken” Norway’s position as an impartial negotiator between Israel and Palestine.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Coalition government chooses side when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians. By doing so, Norway weakens its ability to play a constructive role in contributing to a negotiated solution between the parties”, said Dagfinn Høybråten, the Christian Democratic Party’s (KrF) foreign policy spokesperson.
Formal recognition of a Palestinian state is likely to face stiff opposition from other countries, however. Analysts believe that there is a slim chance of any UN resolution being passed without negotiations with Israel taking place first.
The newspaper European Voice also reports that a number of EU countries, including Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and the Netherlands, are likely to oppose the resolution.