Swedish politicians meet Hamas minister

Atef Adwan, refugee minister in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, will meet with Swedish lawmakers this week despite a European Union policy of no contact with the movement.

Adwan, who arrived Saturday to take part in a conference on Palestinian exiles, met a number of Riksdag members in Stockholm on Monday, and will meet more today, Svenska Dagbladet reported.

“I am glad that there are people in this country who feel sympathy for us in our difficult situation. If the current situation is allowed to continue, I am afraid that it could develop into a real tragedy,” he said.

The Swedish government had said none of its members should meet with Adwan, the deputy minister for refugee affairs.

But Social Democrat MP Pär Axel Sahlberg told TT: “There is now an elected government, and it is now entirely right that we try with them to… think together about ways to move things forward.”

Sahlberg will meet with Adwan on Tuesday, and at least two other lawmakers, Mariam Osman Sherifay, also of the Social Democrats, and Green party MP Yvonne Ruwaida, will meet him on Wednesday.

“I want above all to listen to what he has to say on the situation of the Palestinian people,” Osman Sherifay said.

The granting of a Swedish visa to Adwan sparked a strong protest from Israel, which said the decision “helped legitimize a terrorist organization.”

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU and the United States, which have suspended direct aid to the government.

TT/AFP/The Local