• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Sweden's cancelled Israel trip stirs debate
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Sweden's cancelled Israel trip stirs debate

The Local/ms · 15 Jan 2015, 18:35

Published: 15 Jan 2015 08:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Jan 2015 18:35 GMT+01:00

When Margot Wallström announced that she had “decided to postpone” her trip to Israel, she cited “diary reasons”, but on Thursday a spokesperson for the Israeli foreign ministry gave another version of events.

Speaking to Sveriges Radio, Emmanuel Nachshon said: “The Swedish foreign minister would not have received any official meetings in Israel if she’d travelled here.”

“It is no secret that Israel sees Sweden's recognition of the state of Palestine as an extremely unfriendly act,” he added, confirming that Wallström would not have been able to meet with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if she visited Israel.


Sweden's Foreign Minister was due to visit Jerusalem (pictured) and Tel Aviv next week. Photo: TT

Sweden's decision to recognize the state of Palestine in late October caused Israel to recall its ambassador to Stockholm, who returned a month later.

Israeli media reported in mid-December that Avigdor Lieberman did not want to meet her.

According to the Swedish foreign ministry, Wallström now plans to travel to Israel later this spring.

By then, the Israeli election will be over and there will be a new government for her to meet.

The Local speaks to Margot Wallström about her decision to recognize Palestine

Story continues below…

Mats Samuelsson at the ministry’s press office insisted on Thursday that there were several reasons the trip had been postponed. He didn't mention the apparent cooling of relations between the two countries.

“The timing this week is less suitable for Palestinian President Abbas and Foreign Minister al-Maliki. They are away this week so it fits poorly with their travel schedule. In addition, there's an election campaign in Israel right now and it's never particularly appropriate to go to a country then. The politicians in the country have other things to think about, so to speak," he told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

After news of the row over the cancelled trip made the headlines on Thursday morning, foreign policy spokesperson for Sweden's Moderate party - the largest centre-right opposition group - Karin Enström criticized the government for its handling of relations with the Middle East.

"I see this as an effect of the unskillful handling of the whole issue," she told SVT, arguing that Sweden risked its voice on the peace process "deteriorating" as a result.
 
The leader of the Liberal Party, Jan Björklund said he believed that Sweden's recognition of Palestine was premature and "neither wise nor constructive".
 
According to the Palestinian Authority, around 135 countries have recognised the state of Palestine including several that are now EU members.
 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/ms (news.sweden@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
How a Swedish rocker saved the life of this cute baby elk
Erik Brodén's daughters Tyra and Brita with the elk baby. Photo: Private

Probably the sweetest story you'll read today.

Man sentenced over dinner party murder in west Sweden
The man during a preliminary court hearing last year. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

He stabbed his friend at a dinner party and attempted to kill two others.

The Local List
Ten reasons why Varberg is the best place in Sweden
The Local shows some love for Varberg. Photo: Mikael Pilstrand/MarknadVarberg

Forget Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö, it looks like seaside town Varberg is Sweden's place to be.

Zlatan on his future: 'I made my choice a long time ago'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Thursday's press conference. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Go on then, Zlatan, tell us what it is.

Nooo! Rain and floods set to dampen Swedes' summer joy
Rain in Sweden earlier this year. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

So, that was the Swedish summer? Nice while it lasted.

Homes
Slow design: How Nordic style can make your life better

The world has long been hungry for Nordic lifestyle, with its love of design, nature, and light. But this is about much more than painting your floorboards white or throwing a sheepskin on a chair – it’s a mindset that informs everyday life.

Report: Swedish information security 'not good enough'
Information security in government agencies has been criticised. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Low levels of security could lead to significant consequences, the state auditor warned.

Man arrested in Malmö after armed attack on car
Damaged cars at the scene of the incident. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The incident occurred in the south of the city.

What's on in Sweden
Four fantastic foodie events across Sweden this weekend
It's beer and food galore in Stockholm this weekend. Photo: Brooklyn Brewery Mash

Are world foods your thing, or do you prefer a banquet with beer? Either way you're covered in Sweden this weekend.

Sweden votes yes to controversial Nato deal
A Nato exercise in Spain 2014. Photo: AP Photo/Daniel Tejedor

A bid to stall the decision was voted down.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Blog updates

20 May

Editor’s blog, May 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Do not mention Abba! Or cuckoo clocks! Our most read article this week was…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
Politics
Why Sweden's Greens are in free fall
National
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
National
Why this fearless woman is the talk of Sweden
National
Sweden set for sunny weekend
3,348
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se