On Thursday, October 30, the Swedish government recognized the Palestinian State. The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting this morning, reports Haaretz. Thus, Sweden became the first European country to recognize the official status of the Palestinian territories.
The Head of the Department of Middle East and North Africa, the Swedish Foreign Minister Robin Rudberg also confirmed that Sweden recognized the Palestinian territories as a state in his Twitter.
According to Reuters, earlier in the morning, the head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry Margot Wallström announced that on Thursday, October 30 the government of Sweden recognized the PNA as a state.
The Minister said that the Palestinian Authority complies with the international standards of the state, despite the fact that the authorities are not in full control of the territory, which does not have recognized borders. The Minister referred to earlier precedents when Sweden had recognized the official status of Croatia (1992) and Kosovo (2008) in the similar circumstances.
She also noted that in 2009, the EU reaffirmed their readiness to recognize the Palestinian territories as a state in a case of necessity.
"We are ready to become the first," said Wallström and expressed the hope that other countries would follow the example of Sweden.
She also stressed that the decision was aimed at supporting the moderate Palestinians and strengthening their position in the negotiations with Israel.
"From now on, the government will work on the resumption of negotiations on a final settlement together with the European countries, the US and other regional and international organizations," added Wahlström.
October 3, new Swedish Prime Minister Stephen Leven, the representative of the Social Democrats, promised to recognize the "State of Palestine", reminds NEWSru Israel. He stated it during his speech about the foreign policy of his government. Speaking in parliament, Leven said then that "the state of Palestine" would receive recognition in Sweden in accordance with the principle of "two states for two peoples". According to him, this formula is the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Leuven's statement sparked strong criticism from Israel and the United States.
In the spring of 2013, Sweden raised the status of the Palestinian diplomatic mission to the level of the embassy. However, the previous government refused to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign state.
October 29, in Stockholm the Foreign Minister of neighboring Finland, Erkki Tuomioja said that the recognition of the Palestinian territories as a state would help to accelerate the process of achieving a stable peaceful environment in the Middle East.
The statement of the Minister was made a few days after the upper house of the Irish Parliament formally recognized the Palestinian Authority as a state through a resolution. The initiator of the resolution, Senator Averil Power said that the adoption of the document "will increase the pressure on Israel," forcing him to stick to the peace process.
Earlier, in mid-October, the British Parliament also recognized "State of Palestine" and adopted the relevant resolution. However, in this case, the document is not mandatory. British Prime Minister David Cameron quickly announced that the government would not recognize Palestine as a sovereign state and the policy of the United Kingdom in respect of the Palestinian Authority would not change.
In 2012, the UN General Assembly granted Palestine the observer status, but many Western countries did not recognize its sovereignty. The UK, US and allied countries of Washington consider that "State of Palestine" should be recognized only when its leaders sign peace agreement with Israel.