Saint Kitts and Nevis recognizes the State of Palestine as independent country

The tiny Caribbean island of Saint Kitts and Nevis announced its recognition of the State of Palestine on Monday as part of a visit by the Palestinian foreign minister, who is on a tour of the region.

St Kitts “formally recognises the State of Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state based on its 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital”, Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, reported.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki is on a tour of several Latin American and Caribbean countries. Before his departure, he announced that a country would soon be announcing its recognition of Palestine as a state, though he at the time declined to name the country in question.

“St Kitts remains a friend to all and seeks global peace and security,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry tweeted along with photos of Mr Al Malki and St Kitts Foreign Minister Mark Bentley signing documents.

Wafa agency reported that the two governments were now in discussion about opening embassies.

Palestine has been recognised as a state by 140 countries and semi-autonomous governments, but no major western countries have yet done so.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has encouraged countries to take up recognition as a way of increasing international pressure on Israel to end the military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the territories that two-state peace plans have long slated as making up any Palestinian state.

The Israeli government, however, has criticised countries who do so as hurting the prospects of the peace process, saying they should wait until after final status negotiations are set.

The public on both sides of the conflict are increasingly sceptical that a two-state solution along the lines of the 1967 borders will happen any time soon, according to polls.

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