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Photo: AP
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson
Photo: AP
Hamas minister granted Sweden visa
Swedish Consul General in Jerusalem Nils Eliasson tells Ynet minister will be allowed to enter country to take part in conference organized by non-governmental organization

A mere couple of days after Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said his country will not welcome Hamas legislators, diplomats in Jerusalem and Palestinian sources told Ynet that the Swedish government has agreed to grant a visa to Palestinian Minister for Refugees and Hamas official Atef Adouan.

 

The Swedish consul general in Jerusalem, Nils Eliasson, told Ynet that Adouan will be granted a visa to Sweden.

 

"Adouan has been invited to Sweden by a non-governmental organization, and therefore the government sees no problem in his entering the country," Eliasson said.

 

Adouan is set to attend a conference in Sweden. His visa application has been approved after similar applications by a number of Hamas officials were turned down.

 

'Minister to attend unofficial event'

 

Under pressure from Israel, the Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem turned down a visa application by Hamas' Gaza spokesperson Salah Bardawil. Bardawil and another Hamas official were invited by Swedish nationals of Palestinian origins living in Malmo, a city in southern Sweden with a quarter of its population of the Muslim faith.

 

"As opposed to Bardawil, who asked to take part in a conference attended by Swedish officials, including a Swedish minister, Adouan asked to take part in an unofficial event unattended by officials, an event organized by a non-governmental organization," Eliasson said.

 

Eliasson said Bardawil's visa application was turned down in accordance with EU regulations, which ban contact with Hamas for being enlisted as terror organization.

 

Adouan will head to Norway after his stop in Sweden. There he will join two Hamas officials who have been denied entry to Sweden.

 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry welcomed Sweden's decision to boycott Hamas officials, citing the ministry pressed the Swedish government to ban Hamas officials from the country. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reportedly voiced tough words in a conversation with Sweden's Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg.

 

Hamas officials told Ynet that if all goes according to plan, Adouan will enter Sweden despite Israel's opposition and the remarks by the Swedish prime minister.

 

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