Sweden ifficially recognizes Palestine as state

Sweden can no longer postpone recognizing the Palestinian state and hopes other countries will follow its move, Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallstrom said Thursday, RIA Novosti reports.

“The government of Sweden has decided to recognize the state of Palestine. We have decided to do so on the basis of the fact that the criteria of international law are fulfilled. There is a territory, a people and a government,” Wallstrom told reporters.

“Not to recognize Palestine because of occupation would be against the principle of international law about no fruits of aggression,” she added.

Sweden knew there would be criticism, especially from Israel and the United States, the minister said, but the move is not to complicate international relations. “We have underlined that we wish to keep good relations with both Israel and the United States.”

“We hope that this will be received in a balanced and constructive way by Israel. We are hoping that our excellent cooperation will continue,” Wallstrom stated.

The recognition of the Palestine will be followed by increased financial and humanitarian support to the country, the minister said.

Sweden becomes the 135th country to recognize a sovereign Palestine. Most European Union members and the United States have not given their official recognition. Some EU members such as Hungary, Poland and Slovakia recognized the Palestinian state before joining the Union.

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