21 Jun 2024, 21:19

Armenia says recognises State of Palestine

YEREVAN, June 21, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Armenia announced Friday it was
recognising the State of Palestine, the latest country to do so during the
war in Gaza, saying it was against "violence towards civilian populations."

A series of nations have recognised the State of Palestine amid the war
between Israel and Hamas, drawing strong rebukes from Israeli officials.

Shortly after the former Soviet republic announced the recognition, Israel's
foreign ministry said it summoned Yerevan's ambassador for a "severe

Yerevan noted it is "genuinely interested in establishing long-term peace and
stability in the Middle East."

"Confirming its commitment to international law, equality of nations,
sovereignty and peaceful coexistence, the Republic of Armenia recognises the
State of Palestine," Armenia added.

Yerevan, which has itself been ridden by conflict with neighbouring
Azerbaijan for decades, slammed Israel's military conduct in Gaza.

"Armenia deplores using civilian infrastructure as shields during armed
conflicts and violence towards civilian populations," Yerevan said.

It also criticised Hamas for "the captivity of civilian persons" and said
Armenia "joins the demands of international community on freeing them."

- 'Thank you Armenia' -

A senior official from the Palestinian Authority, Hussein Al-Sheikh, welcomed
the move.

"This is a victory for right, justice, legitimacy and the struggle of our
Palestinian people for liberation and independence," he said on social media.

"Thank you our friend Armenia," added Al-Sheikh, who is also secretary
general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee.

The Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas, which is at war with Israel in Gaza,
also welcomed Yerevan's decision Friday.

"We consider this an additional and important step towards solidifying
international recognition of our people's rights and their aspirations to end
the occupation of their land", the movement said in a statement.

In late May, Spain, Ireland, and Norway officially recognised the State of
Palestine, stating they saw the move as a step towards peace in the region.

Israeli authorities accused the European trio of "rewarding terrorism".

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel,
which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to
an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza, including 41
the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,431 people in Gaza,
also mostly civilians, according to the territory's health ministry.

Israel is a major arms supplier to Armenia's arch-foe neighbour Azerbaijan,
with which Yerevan had been locked in a decades-long territorial dispute over
the Nagorno-Karabakh region that Baku recaptured last year from Armenian



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