Icelanders have for many years been leading supporters of the Palestinian struggle for independence, stated MP for the Left Green party Ögmundur Jónasson at the Council of Europe meeting which is now underway in Strasbourg. Iceland was, in fact, the first Western European nation to recognize Palestinian sovereignty, doing so at a ceremony in Reykjavík in December 2011.
Vísir reports that in his discussion, Ögmundur noted that the Icelandic parliament had unanimously approved official recognition of a sovereign and independent Palestine and has also been the only Western nation to put forth a motion that Palestine receive additional recognition from the United Nations. He also recalled the instance when former Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson refused to accept a meeting with a minister from Israel who wanted to “correct” the Icelandic government after it denounced the warfare and violence in Gaza.
Ögmundur opened the discussion because the Council of Europe has started a partnership with Palestinian authorities to promote democracy in Palestine. The Council of Europe adopted a resolution which affirms the steps which have already been put into effect to this end, while still acknowledging that further measures will need to be taken in order to promote the rule of law in Palestine.
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