Norway recognises Palestine today

‘For over 30 years, Norway has been one of the strongest advocates of a Palestinian state. Norway’s recognition of Palestine as a state today represents a milestone in Norwegian-Palestinian relations,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Bilde av utenriksminister Eide og den palestinske statsministeren stådene med brevet mellom seg.
Foreign Minister Eide handed over a document confirming Norway's recognition of Palestine to the Palestinian Prime Minister. Credit: Mathias Rongved/MFA

The Minister of Foreign Affairs presented a document with the formal recognition to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa at a meeting in Brussels on Sunday 26 May.

‘It was important to be able to present a formal document to Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa in person. He greatly values Norway’s engagement and our efforts to promote a two-state solution. Norway’s recognition of Palestine as a state is a clear message of support to the moderate forces in both countries,’ said Mr Eide.

Mr Eide led two meetings in Brussels on 26 May where the crisis in Palestine and the need for a two-state solution were discussed.

‘I am confident that the Palestinian Government will continue the challenging reform efforts and lay the foundation needed to govern in the West Bank and Gaza once a ceasefire is in place. During the meetings in Brussels this weekend, Prime Minister Mustafa presented his plans for reforming and strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and these were favourably received by the partner countries. It is regrettable that the Israeli Government is showing little willingness to engage constructively in the process. The international community must increase its political and economic support to Palestine and continue to work towards a two-state solution,’ Mr Eide said.

Norway’s recognition of Palestine: Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide announced on Wednesday 22 May that Norway would recognise Palestine as a state. On Friday 24 May, the decision was adopted by Royal Decree. A formal document was presented to the Palestinian Prime Minister on Sunday 26 May. The recognition entered into force on Tuesday 28 May.

Why is Norway’s recognition of Palestine as a state important? Norway’s recognition of Palestine as a state is an important political declaration of support to the Palestinian people at a time when their right to self-determination is under enormous pressure. At the same time, this decision makes it clear that, in Norway’s view, Palestine has fulfilled the legal criteria for statehood and that Norway regards Palestine as an independent state with all the rights and duties this entails.

Norway’s recognition also means that we expect Palestine to fulfil its obligations and claim its rights as a state under international law. Among other things, Norway expects all relations with Palestine to be founded on the fundamental rules of international law relating to independence, equality and peaceful coexistence. Norway will be able to enter into bilateral agreements with Palestine and in this way establish obligations under international law between our two states. Recognition will also have a direct legal effect in Norway in areas where issues relating to the State of Palestine are involved. 

Territorial demarcation: Norway recognises Palestine as a state in line with international law and relevant resolutions by the UN Security Council. The territorial demarcation between the state of Palestine and the state of Israel should be based on the pre-1967 borders, i.e. the demarcation line as set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states and without prejudice to a final settlement on borders, including the use of land swaps.

Bilde av statsminister Jonas Gahr Støre og utenriksminister Espen Barth Eide på scene under pressekonferanse
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide at the press conference when they announced that Norway recognizes Palestine. Credit: Mathias Rongved/MFA