Denmark and Finland announced on Saturday that they would upgrade the status of the Palestinian missions in Copenhagen and Helsinki, respectively, to be equivalent to embassies.

In a joint statement, the Nordic countries emphasized that the upgrade “does not entail a formal bilateral recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.”

Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal and Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said the upgrade was a way to encourage Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “to engage with determination in the necessary negotiations with the Israeli government on a two state solution.”

Abbas had many challenges to meet “before we can recognize Palestine as a state,” the two foreign ministers said. “It is important to keep focused on the aim of Palestine becoming a fully recognized state and as such claim its rightful place as part of the international community of states.”

The move gives Palestinian representatives in all Nordic countries the same working conditions as accredited diplomats serving in an embassy of a recognized state, according to the statement.

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