Sweden has officially recognised the state of Palestine, Stockholm’s foreign minister has said, less than a month after the government announced its intention to make the unprecedented move.
Sweden recognises Independent state of Palestine
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said the recognition ‘confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination’ [EPA]
The Palestinians cheered Thursday’s move, while Israel summoned Sweden’s ambassador to protest and express disappointment.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement that the recognition was “an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination”.
“We hope that this will show the way for others,” she said in remarks published in the Dagens Nyheter daily.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed the “brave and historic” move to officially recognise the state of Palestine, his spokesman told the AFP news agency.
Sweden is the first EU member state in Western Europe to recognise the Palestinian state.
Seven EU members in eastern European and the Mediterranean have already recognised a Palestinian state – Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Romania.
Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.
Israel has long insisted that the Palestinians can only receive their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels.
The United States cautioned Sweden against recognition, calling it “premature” and saying the Palestinian state could only come through a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
In Thursday’s announcement, Sweden’s foreign minister said that “the government considers that international law criteria for recognition of a Palestinian state have been fulfilled”.