Sweden has dismissed criticisms leveled at the Scandinavian country by the United States after Stockholm announced a plan to recognize Palestine as a state.
“It’s not the US that decides our politics,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said, adding the Swedish officials expected to “get criticism” after announcing their stance on the issue of Palestine.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced during his inauguration speech at the Swedish parliament on Friday that his government will formally recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.
The United States reacted to the announcement, terming Stockholm’s recognition as “premature”.
“We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, adding, “We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues and mutual recognitions by both parties.”
The Swedish foreign minister further said that Stockholm “will continue the constructive dialogue with the US to explain our motives and reasons” for the decision.
Israel has also reacted to the move by summoning the Swedish ambassador to Israel for a reprimand meeting which is slated to be held on Monday.
Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday that he was sorry that Sweden’s premier had “rushed” to make declarations about a Palestinian state.
On Friday, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed Lofven’s remarks and said, “We hope that all countries of the European Union will take the same courageous and remarkable decision… as there is no reason not to recognize the Palestinian state.”
In a similar move, British lawmakers will be asked to vote on a motion calling on the United Kingdom to recognize the Palestinian state, The Guardian reported.
On November 29, 2012, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.
Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.
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