Hamas minister gets Swedish visa

Sweden has granted a minister from Hamas a visa to the EU's Schengen zone, despite an EU decision to cut ties with the ruling Palestinian party.

Hamas’ refugee minister Atef Adwan will attend a Palestinian conference in Malmö on Saturday after the Swedish consulate general in Jerusalem granted him a visa, Svenska Dagbladet has reported.

The organisation’s group leader Salah Mohammed al-Bardawil was yesterday denied a visa to the Schengen area by French authorities.

Swedish foreign ministry spokesman Fredrik Florén told Svenska Dagbladet the visa had been issued after the usual consultations with other Schengen countries. He said that no country had objected to Sweden issuing the permit.

But Florén insisted that Sweden was “full-square behind” demands by the ‘quartet’ of the United States, United Nations, EU and Russia that the Hamas-led Palestinian authority renounce violence, acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and respect existing agreements.