St. Kitts and Nevis has “formally recognizes the State of Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state based on its 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital,” Mark Brantley, the foreign minister of the Caribbean country, said on Monday in Basseterre.
He was standing alongside Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki. “St. Kitts and Nevis…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.”
Malki, on a trip to Latin America and the Caribbean, thanked Brantley and passed along a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas thanking St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris.
Brantley said the island nation was establishing direct ties with Palestine and Ramallah said it would name a candidate to be ambassador in the coming days.
St. Kitts and Nevis “remains a friend to all and seeks global peace and security,” Brantley tweeted.
Malki first previewed the move two weeks ago, when he told official PA channel Palestine TV that another country would recognize Palestine during his trip at the end of July.
According to the PA Foreign Ministry, the decision by St. Kitts and Nevis took place following “an intensive effort undertaken by Palestinian diplomats,” including Malki and Palestinian Ambassador to Venezuela Linda Soboh.
More than 135 countries have recognized a Palestinian state, though the figure does not include most major Western powers.
Abbas has urged the international community, especially European countries, to recognize Palestine and contended doing so would encourage Palestinians to maintain hope for peace.
But Israel has long argued that recognizing Palestinian statehood before a peace deal is finalized will harden the Palestinians’ negotiating positions, making it more difficult to reach an agreement.
There was no immediate comment from Jerusalem.
Israel has maintained “warm” diplomatic relations with St. Kitts and Nevis since the early 1980s, when the country declared independence from Britain, according an Israeli government website.