- Last Updated on 30 October 2014
- By WA
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Sweden is to recognize the occupied state of Palestine officially on Thursday, according to its foreign ministry. The Scandinavian country will become the first major European state to recognize the territories occupied by Israel.
This follows an earlier hint by Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen in his Social Democrat manifesto, during his inaugural address in October, that this would happen. The idea was quickly met with criticism from the United States and Israel.
"Today's recognition is a contribution to a better future for a region that has for too long been characterized by frozen negotiations, destruction and frustration," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom wrote in the daily Dagens Nyheter.
"Some will state this decision comes too soon. I am afraid, rather, that it is too late."
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has already welcomed the "historic" move by Sweden. "President Abbas welcomes Sweden's decision," Nabil Abu Rudeina, the leader's spokesman told AFP.