Photo: AP
SWedish government at a press conference Friday
Photo: AP

US: Sweden's recognition of Palestine is 'premature'

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki welcomes announcement by new Swedish PM, calls on other EU states to follow suit.

The United States on Friday gently expressed its disapproval of a decision by the new Swedish government to officially recognize the Palestinian state, calling such a move "premature."



"We believe that the process is one that has to be worked out through the parties to agree on the terms of how they'll live in the future of two states living side-by-side," said State Department spokesman Jen Psaki.


Sweden's new center-left government will recognize 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 Friday.


Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki welcomed Lofven's announcement and called on other European Union countries to follow suit.


"In the name of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership, we thank and salute the Swedish position," Malki said in a statement.


He said the only other Western European countries that have recognized a Palestinian state are Malta and Cyprus. Some Eastern European countries did so during the Cold War.


The UN 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.


Flanked by his government, Swedish PM Stefan Lofven (2nd left) speaks at a press conference in Stockholm on Friday. (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
Flanked by his government, Swedish PM Stefan Lofven (2nd left) speaks at a press conference in Stockholm on Friday. (Photo: AP)


"A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognize 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.


Within the EU, some countries, such as Hungary, Poland and Slovakia recognize Palestine, but they did so before joining the 28-member bloc.


If the center-left government fulfills its plans, Sweden would be the first country to recognize Palestine while being a member of the European Union.


The Social Democrats and Greens hold a minority of seats in parliament and the incoming center-left government is likely to be one of Sweden's weakest for decades.


The former center-right government would not recognize Palestine as the Palestinian authorities did not control their territory.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital in East Jerusalem.



While Gaza's boundaries are clearly defined, the precise territory of what would constitute Palestine in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will only be determined via negotiations with Israel on a two-state solution, negotiations that are currently on hold.



פרסום ראשון: 10.04.14, 19:03
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