Denmark will not recognize Palestine: PM

Speaking in Stockholm on Tuesday, Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that Denmark is not ready to follow Sweden's lead in recognizing a Palestinian state.

Denmark will not recognize Palestine: PM
Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt (C) speaks next to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven (R) and Estonian Trade Minister Anne Sulling during a press conference ahead of the Nordic and
Participating in a meeting of Nordic and Baltic prime ministers ahead of the Nordic Council's 66th Session in Stockholm, Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that Denmark is not prepared to recognize Palestine as a state. 
“We all have the same goal of creating peace in the Middle East. In Denmark, we also support a two-state solution, but we have chosen another direction and we stand by that. But it is important to say that every country makes its own decisions on this question but we all agree on the same goal: creating peace in the Middle East," Thorning-Schmidt said at a press conference
According to Swedish media, Norwegian PM Erma Solberg also said that Norway would not recognize Palestine before a two-state solution was ready. 
Shortly after his election, new Swedish PM Stefan Löfven announced that Sweden would become the first major European nation to officially recognize Palestine as a state
"The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law," Löfven said during his inaugural speech in parliament.
"A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine," he added.
Sweden's decision led to speculation over whether Denmark would follow suit, particularly given that when she assumed office in 2011, Thorning-Schmidt said that Denmark would "cooperate with the other EU countries on the recognition of an independent and viable Palestinian state". Shortly following Sweden's announcement, however, Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said that the Danish government is not ready to support Palestine as a state at this point. 
"We look forward to being able to recognize Palestine as a state but it is hard to do that before we know whether the state would have any chance to exist," he told Politiken. 
This led to criticism from, among others, one of Lidegaard's predecessors, Holger Nielsen.
"The government should reevaluate its decision. The Swedes have taken a very brave step and they need support for their decision," Nielsen told Jyllands-Posten.
The advocacy group ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke) on Monday launched a petition to get Denmark to recognize Palestine. In less than two days, it has amassed 12,000 signatures.  

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Denmark votes against recognizing Palestine

Despite parliament shooting down a proposal from the left-wing to recognize Palestine now, the foreign minister has opened the door for Denmark to do it sooner rather than later.

Denmark votes against recognizing Palestine
ActionAid Denmark's director Frans Mikael Jansen (r) handed FM Martin Lidegaard 34,500 signatures calling for Denmark to recognize Palestine. Photo: Nikolai Linares/Scanpix
A bill that called on Denmark to recognize Palestine as a state was shot down in parliament as expected on Thursday.
But despite the no vote, the foreign minister nonetheless suggested that Denmark could be a step closer to recognizing a Palestinian state. 
In a departure from the Danish government’s previous statements, Martin Lidegaard said Denmark is prepared to recognize Palestine even without a two-state solution firmly in place. 
“We are in line with the many countries who feel that this is such an important decision that we should wait to make it until we feel like it can actually affect the peace process. We don’t think that is now, but on the other hand we don’t necessarily think that we need to wait until the end of the peace process,” Lidegaard said during Thursday’s debate, as quoted by Politiken. 

Later taking to Twitter, he “supported” recognizing Palestine but only “when it can contribute to peace”. 

“I don’t think that’s now. It requires the EU,” the foreign minister wrote. 
The advocacy group ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke) on Thursday handed Lidegaard a petition with around 35,000 signatures calling for Denmark to recognize Palestine.