Iceland FM tells UN his country may recognise Palestine

The Icelandic government next week intends to put a parliamentary resolution for debate before Althingi that Iceland should recognise Palestinian independence, the country’s foreign minister told the UN yesterday.

Ossur Skarphedinsson, the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, made the plan public at yesterday evening’s meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

In his speech to the assembly, Skarphedinsson said that the Icelandic government would support the Palestinians’ application for UN membership. Israel did the same thing many years ago and it would be hypocritical to deny the Palestinians the same treatment. He then went on to inform the assembly that a parliamentary resolution will be put to the Icelandic parliament next week calling for Iceland to recognise Palestinian independence. Such a statement would be extremely meaningful for Palestinians, the minister believes.

“They are in a tight spot. It is clear that there are few European countries that are currently ready to take the big step. That’s why this matters. It is also clear after being in the General Assembly how many strong countries are opposing the Palestinians and bringing vast pressure to bear on various small countries that one would have expected, because of their past, would support the Palestinians,” Skarphedinsson told RUV immediately after the speech.

The minister briefed the Althingi Foreign Affairs Committee about his intentions, and says he hopes the parliamentary resolution will be ready for debate soon.