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Dutch FM Tells Parliament Recognizing Palestine Won’t Revive Peace Talks

Bert Koenders

New Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders declared last week that the Netherlands is not planning to recognize a Palestinian state for now, saying such a move would not help restart the peace talks, JTA reported, citing a transcript of his speech which was released this week.

Koenders replaced Frans Timmermans last month. Both are members of the Dutch Labor party.

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“We believe this is not an advisable measure, ” Koenders told a Nov. 19 parliament session, during a debate on his office’s budget and policy.

“We find that is not correct to recognize the Palestinian state. It must be a part of negotiations. In that sense, it should be introduced at a strategic moment, ” he said.

Despite the fact that a growing number of European parliaments and governments are in the process of endorsing Palestinian statehood, Koenders argued that “the overwhelming majority, including the Dutch government, believes that it does not contribute to the priority issue of restarting negotiations, if we all of a sudden go ahead [and recognize a Palestinian state] because Sweden also did it.”

Koenders also criticized Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, which the European Union considers illegal.



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