The Palestinian flag was raised in the courtyard outside Oslo City Hall on Wednesday morning in Oslo, Norway, 29 November 2023; Credit: NTB/Ole Berg-Rusten/via Reuters/ File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will recognise a Palestinian state, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Wednesday 22 May 2024, confirming earlier reports by public broadcaster NRK and daily Aftenposten. 

The Irish government will also announce on Wednesday the recognition of a Palestinian state, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday 21 May 2024.

European Union members Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta have indicated in recent weeks that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

The Norwegian prime minister and the foreign minister are due to hold a press conference at 06:30 GMT on Wednesday where the Middle East is listed as the topic.

The move comes as Israeli forces have led assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.

Non-EU Norway has long said it would recognise Palestine as a country only if it could have a positive impact on a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, in step with what the United States has said on the issue.

Norway is a close US ally, and the Nordic country has sought to help broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians on several occasions in recent decades.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere last month said that his country was ready to make a decision on recognising a Palestinian state but had not yet decided on the timing.