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Palestine opens first embassy in Western Europe

Palestine opens first embassy in Western Europe

The first ever Palestinian embassy in Western Europe has opened this evening in Sweden.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in Stockholm for the event.

“Your recognition…should push forward negotiations in the peace process,” Abbas said.

Abbas called on other countries to follow Stockholm’s lead, and said unilateral statehood efforts for serve peace talks, not replace them.

RT reports: Prime Minister Lofven has vowed aid to Palestine, but has also called on reforms.

“There are challenges: we must help one another to fight corruption, increase gender equality, improve respect for human rights, and of course continue the state building process,” Lofven said.

Under the newly signed deal, Sweden’s financial help to Palestine will grow by 1.5 billion kronas (US$179.74 million) over the next five years.

Palestine has diplomatic missions in countries that either recognize or partially recognize it as an independent state.

Until Tuesday, Palestine had a General Delegation of Palestine in Sweden, based in Stockholm.

On October 30, Sweden was the first Western EU member (and 135th of the world’s 193 nations) to officially recognize Palestinian statehood. Britain, France, Spain and Portugal followed suit.

The plan to recognize Palestine was criticized by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said that Prime Minister Lofven “must understand that neither declaration nor move by an external player will replace direct talks between the sides that will be part of a comprehensive accord between Israel and the entire Arab world.”