Armenia recognises Palestine as independent state

Yerevan   -   Armenia announced Friday its recognition of the State of Palestine, the latest country to do so during the war in Gaza, saying it was against “violence towards civilian populations.”

A series of countries have recognised the State of Palestine amid the war between Israel and Hamas, drawing strong rebukes from Israeli officials.

“Confirming its commitment to international law, equality of nations, sovereignty and peaceful coexistence, the Republic of Armenia recognises the State of Palestine,” Yerevan said. Armenia added that it is “genuinely interested in establishing long-term peace and stability in the Middle-East.”  Yerevan, which has itself been ridden by conflict with neighbouring Azerbaijan for decades, slammed Israel’s military conduct in Gaza.

“Armenia deplores using civilian infrastructure as shields during armed conflicts and violence towards civilian populations,” the ministry said.

It also deplored Hamas for “the captivity of civilian persons” and said it “joins the demands of international community on freeing them.”

A senior official from the Palestinian Authority, Hussein Al-Sheikh, welcomed the move.  

“This is a victory for right, justice, legitimacy and the struggle of our Palestinian people for liberation and independence,” Al-Sheikh said on social media.   “Thank you our friend Armenia.”   The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza, including 41 the army says are dead. Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,431 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Israel is a major arms supplier to Armenia’s arch-foe neighbour Azerbaijan, with which Yerevan had been locked in a decades-long territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region that Baku recaptured last year from Armenian separatists.