Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde

Swedish foreign minister to visit Israel, Palestinian Authority

Ann Linde to meet with Lapid, oversee opening of exhibition celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations between two countries; ties between Jerusalem and Stockholm have been rocky for the past seven years following its recognition of Palestinian statehood in 2014

AFP |
Published: 10.17.21, 15:32
Sweden's foreign minister will make the first official visit to Israel in a decade, the government said Sunday, following seven years of rocky ties after Stockholm recognized Palestinian statehood.
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  • "Foreign Minister Ann Linde will visit Israel and Palestine on October 18 and 19," the government said in a press release.
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    אן לינדה
    אן לינדה
    Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde
    (Photo: EPA)
    Since its recognition of the "State of Palestine" in 2014, Sweden has had a difficult relationship with Israel.
    Linde will on Monday meet with her counterpart Yair Lapid as well as President Isaac Herzog. She will also visit Yad Vashem and participate in the opening of an exhibition celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
    "Having a normal relationship at the level of the foreign minister itself is a new chapter in our foreign policy dialogue," the minister told Swedish news agency TT on Friday.
    On September 15, during a first formal telephone call with Lapid, she had emphasized "the importance of our bilateral relationship".
    "Both of us stressed that friendship and cooperation can and must go hand with respect for each other's convictions & differences," Linde tweeted, expressing her support for Israel's security demands.
    The thaw in relations does not call into question Sweden's recognition of Palestinian statehood, which the minister will also visit.
    "I fully support this decision. After all, it was also about wanting a two-state solution, wanting to strengthen the moderate forces and to make the parties less unequal in the peace negotiations," Linde told TT.
    About 140 countries have already recognized the Palestinian state, including eight in the European Union.
    Besides Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus recognized it before they joined the EU.
    Linde will also meet President Mahmoud Abbas as well as Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.
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