Thursday, 23 November 2017

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Sweden recognises the state of Palestine

Flickr  Sven Christian Kindler 2.0 Generic CC BY-SA 2.0

30 October 2014 – Sweden becomes the first EU Member State to officially recognise the state of Palestine.

'The past year, we’ve seen how the peace negotiations once again have halted, how decisions on new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have obstructed a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza,’ writes Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström today in newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

‘Some will claim that today’s decision comes too early. I’m rather afraid it’s too late.’

The decision follows an earlier hint by Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen at his swearing-in ceremony in October 2014, when he stated that ‘the conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law.’

Wallström adds that the recognition aims to support moderate forces among the Palestinians, make future negotiations more equal and give young Palestinians hope of a peaceful solution to the conflict.


Mixed Reactions

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he welcomed the announcement shortly after it was made and called on other countries to follow Sweden’s example. Communicating via his spokesman, Abbas found the decision ‘brave and historic.’

However, according to Israeli daily Haaretz, Sweden’s neighbours ‘are not hurrying to follow suit’. Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt stated Denmark wouldn’t recognize Palestine at this stage.

‘We also support a two-state solution, but we have chosen another direction and we stand by that,’ Thorning-Schmidt explained.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that Norway wouldn’t recognize Palestine before an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement was reached.


Recognised by 130 other countries

The U.N. General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the state of Palestine in 2012 by granting it an observer state status. They now have access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Additionally, some 130 other countries recognised Palestine before Sweden; including Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, although they all did so before joining the European Union.


Want to know more about the topic? Take a look at the UNISPAL 'Special Focus: Palestine's Status at the UN'. 

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