22 May 2024, 18:53

Saudi, Qatar praise European countries' recognition of Palestinian state

RIYADH, May 22, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Saudi Arabia and Qatar praised the decision by Ireland, Norway and Spain on Wednesday to recognise a Palestinian state and called on other countries to do the same.

The foreign ministry "expresses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's welcome of the positive decision taken by the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of Ireland to recognise the sisterly State of Palestine," according to a statement posted on X.

"The kingdom appreciates this decision issued by friendly countries, which affirms the international consensus on the inherent right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and calls on the rest of the countries to quickly make the same decision."

The Gulf kingdom, home to Islam's holiest places, has long positioned itself as a champion of the Palestinian cause and has never recognised Israel.

However, its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said in September that progress was being made on a possible normalisation deal that would also involve beefed up security and other agreements with the United States.

Since war broke out in Gaza on October 7, triggered by Hamas's unprecedented attack on southern Israel, Saudi officials have said ties with Israel are impossible without "irrevocable" steps towards recognition of a Palestinian state, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long opposed.

Israel reacted with fury on Wednesday to the announcements by Norway, Spain and Ireland, which said they would formally recognise the State of Palestine on May 28.

Qatar's foreign ministry, however, welcomed the announcement as an "important step in support of a two-state solution", expressing hope that other countries would follow suit.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also spoke out in support of the European countries' move, with secretary general Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi saying it represented "a pivotal and strategic step towards achieving the two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a statement said.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, based in the Saudi city of Jeddah, similarly welcomed the move as an "important historic step".



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