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Iceland becomes first Western European country to recognize Palestinian state

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Iceland recognizes Palestinian stateIceland's parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of recognizing the Palestinian Territories as an independent state, the first Western European country to do so according Iceland's foreign minister. The measure passed symbolically on the United Nation's annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The vote paves the way for formal recognition by the small north Atlantic island, which led the way in recognizing the independence of the three Baltic states after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.

"Iceland is the first Western European country to take this step," Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson told Icelandic state broadcaster RUV. "I now have the formal authority to declare our recognition of Palestine."

Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour read a message from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at UN headquarters on the occasion of the day of solidarity with the Palestinian people. He reaffirmed the Palestinian's bid for UN membership, saying it should complement peace negotiations, provided that Israel is prepared to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 borders.


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