The tiny Caribbean island nation of St Kitts and Nevis announced its official recognition of the State of Palestine yesterday.
The announcement was made in a meeting between Mark Brantley, the foreign minister of the island, and Riyad Al-Maliki, the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), who was on an official visit to St Kitts.
St. Kitts and Nevis "formally recognizes the State of Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state based on its 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital," stated Brantley. He added that it also "reiterates its support of a credible two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with the two states living side by side in peace, prosperity and harmony."
Following the announcement, Al-Maliki thanked the foreign minister and passed on a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas expressing gratitude to the island nation's Prime Minister Timothy Harris. Brantley said that St Kitts and Nevis will also be establishing direct ties with Palestine with a Palestinian ambassador being appointed to the island in the coming days.
The announcement follows on from an interview Al-Maliki gave to the official PA channel Palestine TV, in which he stated that an announcement would be made about a country that is recognising Palestine during his trip towards the end of July. The decision taken by St Kitts and Nevis, which has a population of approximately 50,000 people and consists of two volcanic islands, was the result of "an intensive effort undertaken by Palestinian diplomats," including Al-Maliki and Palestinian Ambassador to Venezuela Linda Soboh, according to the PA Foreign Ministry.
The recognition of the state of Palestine, however, will not likely affect the islands' relations with Israel which have reportedly been good and "warm" since the nation declared its independence from Britain in the early 1980s.
Over 135 countries have officially recognised a Palestinian state so far. The PA has repeatedly called for the international community to recognise Palestine as doing so would push forward the process of establishing the two-state solution.