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Malta to recognise Palestine when ‘circumstances right’


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Malta has said it will recognise the State of Palestine “when such recognition can make a positive contribution, and when the circumstances are right”.

It follows Ireland yesterday formally recognising the State of Palestine in what Taoiseach Simon Harris said was “an act of powerful, political and symbolic value”.

The decision means the Government recognises Palestine as a sovereign and independent state, and has agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah.

A Maltese foreign ministry spokesperson told RTÉ News that the Maltese government was monitoring developments in the Middle East to “determine the optimal timeframes for this important development as soon as possible”.

The Palestinian flag pictured flying at Leinster House yesterday

Malta had been consistent in its position in favour of a two-state solution “that meets the aspirations of the people of Israel and Palestine, with Jerusalem as the capital of two states living side-by-side in peace and security,” the spokesperson said.

“In this regard, Malta has recently affirmed its readiness to recognise Palestine, when such recognition can make a positive contribution, and when the circumstances are right.”

In 1988, Malta signed a declaration at the United Nations recognising “the right of the Palestinian people to a state of their own”.

On 22 March, the Maltese prime minister Robert Golob added his name to a joint statement by the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez and Robert Abela, the Slovene prime minister, that they would recognise Palestine “when it can make a positive contribution and the circumstances are right”.

Slovenia is expected to decide by the middle of June if it will join Ireland, Spain and Norway in recognising Palestinian statehood.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday Mr Harris said that “it would not have been right to withhold our recognition, when we were convinced that it was the right thing to do”.

“It was not unreasonable to ask: If not now, then when?” Mr Harris asked.

He said he hoped recognition “sends the Palestinian people a message of hope that – in this their darkest hour – Ireland stands with them”.

“We have long recognised the state of Israel and its right to exist in peace and security within internationally agreed borders,” Mr Harris said.

“Today we say we equally recognise the State of Palestine and its right to exist within internationally agreed borders.”

Ireland was the first EU member state to endorse the idea of Palestinian statehood in 1980.

A number of European states have concluded that Palestinian self-determination can no longer wait until the end of a process of negotiations between the parties.

Recent months have seen intensified efforts by Arab partners to chart a way out of the current crisis, resulting in the development of the ‘Arab Peace Vision’, which prioritises concrete steps to implement a two-state solution, building on the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

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