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Swedish government 'deeply regrets' Trump's Jerusalem statement

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US President Donald Trump. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
11:48 CET+01:00
The Swedish government has condemned Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying it risks greater instability in the region.

Trump defied international opposition by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital in a speech at the White House on Wednesday, saying it was a "long overdue step to advance the peace process". Sweden is one of a range of nations to criticise the move.

"The government deeply regrets the US statement about Jerusalem. The UN has given Jerusalem a special legal and political status, which the Security Council has called upon the international community to respect. There is a risk that this statement may lead to strong reactions and greater instability in an already turbulent region, and have long-term strategic consequences for the peace process," a Swedish government statement reads.

"EU foreign ministers have emphasised that the EU has never recognised Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and that achieving a lasting peace requires resolving the status of Jerusalem through negotiations. The US statement does not affect the position of the EU and Sweden concerning Jerusalem’s special status. It is of the utmost importance that all states respect and safeguard this status," it continues.

"Sweden's long-standing commitment to a two-state solution remains. We are working to ensure that Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace and security. All final status issues, including Jerusalem’s status as a future capital for both states, must be resolved through negotiations between the parties and not through unilateral action by parties or others."

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In his statement, Trump said he would "support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides," a softening of the previous US backing of a two-state solution. He also announced plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel has been seeking international recognition for Jerusalem as its capital since annexing East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians also see Jerusalem as their capital, and want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.

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The Swedish government is just one of many to quickly express criticism of Trump's move, with voices of concern ranging from Britain, France and Germany to China and Saudi Arabia, as well as the UN.

Sweden, along with other members of the UN Security Council including the UK and France, has requested an emergency meeting of the council to be held on Jerusalem.

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