Sweden to recognise state of Palestine

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven (front 2nd L) smiles as he stands with his new government during a news conference in Stockholm October 3, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven (front 2nd L) smiles as he stands with his new government during a news conference in Stockholm October 3, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency

(Reuters) – Sweden’s new center-left government will recognise the state of Palestine in a move that will make it the first major European country to take the step, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Friday.

The U.N. General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012 but the European Union and most EU countries, have yet to give official recognition.

“The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law,” Lofven said during his inaugural address in parliament.

“A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognise the state of Palestine.”

For the Palestinians, Sweden’s move will be a welcome boost for its ambitions.

With its reputation as an honest broker in international affairs and with an influential voice in EU foreign policy, the decision may well make other countries sit up and pay attention at a time when the Palestinians are threatening unilateral moves towards statehood.

However, there is likely to be strong criticism of Sweden from Israel, as well as from the United States and the EU, which maintain that an independent Palestinian state should only emerge through a negotiated process…

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