Middle East

Decision to recognize Palestinian statehood “important step towards peace,” say Ireland, Spain and Norway leaders

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and James Frater in London, and Al Goodman in Madrid

The prime ministers of Ireland, Spain and Norway have hailed their decision to recognize a Palestinian state as an “important step” toward “peace” in the region.

All three stressed the role of Palestinian statehood in enforcing the two-state solution in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told the Spanish parliament that Spain had chosen to “recognize the state of Palestine for peace, coherence and justice.”

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris called the move an “important step” toward “permanent peace,” speaking to journalists in Dublin.

 “Recognition is an act of powerful political and symbolic value. It is an expression of our view that Palestine holds and should be able to vindicate the full rights of a state including self-determination, self-governance, territorial integrity and security,” Harris said.
“It is a decision being taken on its merits. But we cannot ignore the fact that we are taking it as Palestinians in Gaza are enduring the most appalling suffering, hardship and starvation. A humanitarian catastrophe unimaginable to most and unconscionable to all is unfolding in real time.”

Harris acknowledged that although there will be “reaction” and “interpretations” of the decision’s implications, it was important to “not lose sight” that children in Gaza and Israel both “deserve peace.”

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told reporters in Oslo that “there can be no peace in the Middle East unless Palestinians and Israelis have their own state, and that there is a two-state solution.”

“There cannot be a two-state solution without a Palestinian state, and in other words, peace in the Middle East requires a Palestinian state,” Støre said.

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