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Sweden will make 'demands' on Palestine

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The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Cairo this month. Photo: TT
07:57 CET+01:00
UPDATED: Sweden's new government recognised Palestine in its first foreign policy decision in October 2014 but Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has said the state needs to change in order to retain Sweden's support.

The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is set to visit Stockholm on February 10th and Sweden’s Foreign Minister has said she will use the trip to “place demands on the Palestinians.”

Speaking to Sveriges Radio, she added that Sweden would also “be sure to use the opportunity to prepare for a resumption of the peace process.”

Wallström said it was essential that Palestine “renounced violence” before any constructive work between the two nations could take place.

"The visit of president Abbas, by invitation from the prime minister, is confirmed for February 10th," Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Ulla Jacobson confirmed to the AFP news agency.

"He will also meet the foreign minister, the king and the archbishop."

She said the agenda would include the Arab-Israeli peace process and "what Sweden can offer after (its) recognition" of Palestine in October.

The UN General Assembly approved the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state in 2012, but the European Union and most western countries do not refer to Palestine as a separate state. 

In October 2014, Sweden’s Foreign Minister said that Sweden had chosen to recognise the state “to help reach the goal of Israel and Palestine co-existing side by side in peace.”

"The government believes that the international law criteria for the recognition of the State of Palestine has been met. There is a territory, there is a population and there is a government,” she said at a press conference.

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But her comments increased tensions between Sweden and Israel, with the latter briefly recalling its ambassador to Sweden.

Earlier this month it emerged that Margot Wallström had postponed a visit to Israel amid rumours that no Israeli officials were prepared to make the time for talks with her.

Wallström is currently in the US where she last met her American counterpart John Kerry, the US Secretary of State. The Foreign Minister has told Swedish media that the US plans to resume attempts at encouraging peace negotiations in the middle east after the Israeli election takes place in March.

 

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