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Denmark and Finland to upgrade relations with Palestinians

04.05.2013  07:46

The joint intention by the two countries to present to the Palestinian Government a draft agreement that would give a status equivalent to that of an embassy to the Palestinian Missions in their respective capitals should be seen not least in the context of the on-going Nordic cooperation.  With this decision, all Nordic countries will be offering the same working conditions for official Palestinian representatives as is the case for accredited diplomats serving in an embassy of a recognized state.
The step should also be seen in the light of the important work which Palestine under President Abbas, and with strong support from the international community, is doing to build the infrastructure required for a functioning Palestinian state.  It is expected that the changes to the status of the Palestinian Missions in Denmark and Finland can be implemented in the course of 2013.
Denmark and Finland encourage the governments in Israel and Palestine to engage in direct peace negotiations with a view to reaching a negotiated two- state solution.  The intended upgrade of the status of the Palestinian Missions does not entail a formal bilateral recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by Denmark and Finland. 
 
Foreign Ministers Villy Søvndal and Erkki Tuomioja.state:


”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.  After this process all Nordic countries will be offering the same working conditions for official Palestinian representatives as is the case for accredited diplomats serving in an embassy of a recognized state. 
Palestine is in a phase of state-building, and many challenges remain for President Abbas to handle before we can recognize Palestine formally as a state.  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. Denmark and Finland took, together with the majority of EU member states and all Nordic countries, an essential step by voting in favour of the upgraded status of Palestine in the UN on 29 November 2012. 
We hope that the intention to give, for all practical purposes, the Palestinian Missions in our capitals conditions for work identical to those of an embassy will encourage President Abbas to engage with determination in the necessary negotiations with the Israeli government on a two-state solution.  The present efforts undertaken from the US and strongly supported by the EU deserve the support of the Palestinian and the Israeli governments.”