Copenhagen, 25 Jumadil Akhir 1434/5 May 2013 (MINA) – Denmark and Finland planed to upgrade the status of their respective Palestinian representative offices in Copenhagen and Helsinki to that of an embassy, the Danish foreign ministry said Saturday (4/5).
“It is with satisfaction that we announce our joint intention to work with the Palestinians to be able to upgrade the status of the Palestinian missions in Copenhagen and Helsinki,” the foreign ministers of Finland and Denmark, Villy Soevndal and Erkki Tuomioja, said in a joint statement,
The changes are expected to be implemented sometime in 2013, it said. Ma’an News reporting as quoted by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).
The move would “not entail a formal bilateral recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by Denmark and Finland,” the statement said.
“Palestine is in a phase of state-building, and many challenges remain for president Mahmoud Abbas to handle before we can recognize Palestine formally as a state,” it said.
“But it is important to keep focused on the aim of Palestine becoming a fully recognized state and as such claim its rightful place as part of the international community of states.”
In November, Denmark and Finland backed a resolution recognizing the Palestinians as a non-member observer state at the UN.
Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Malki hailed the announcement.
“We are certain, with the decision by Google to use the name ‘Palestine’ instead of ‘Palestinian Territories’ and after being recognized as an observer state at the UN, that we are continuing in the right direction,” he told Ma’an.
Neighboring Sweden’s parliament voted in March to upgrade the Palestinian mission in Stockholm to that of an embassy.
A slew of European countries have already done the same.
In January 2011, Denmark with Norway said that they will soon recognize the State of Palestine, and On 9 March, Mahmoud Abbas visited Denmark for the first time, to discuss bilateral relations between Denmark and Palestine.
During the visit, Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen stated that Denmark was not considering recognizing the State of Palestine. On 29 May2011, the Social Democrats revealed that if they win the next parliamentary election, they will recognize the State of Palestine. In August, it was still unknown if Denmark would vote no or yes for an Independent Palestinian state in the United Nations.
On 15 September 2012, the Social Democrats won the 2011 Danish elections, and expressed support for the Palestinian membership in the UN, but waited for a joint decision in the European Union. On 22 September 2012, hundreds of Danes demonstrated in front of the Folketing.
The Palestinian ambassador to Denmark said: “This recognition will enhance Danish-Arab relations and will reflect support of the Danish people for the Palestinian bid to UN”. In October 2012, Denmark abstained from voting in the resolution for Palestine in the UNESCO. The Danish Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) is a supporter of an independent Palestinian state. (T/P06/P04)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)