Sweden raises Palestine diplomatic representation from mission to embassy
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom inaugurated a new Palestinian embassy in Stockholm on Tuesday, he Swedish prime minister’s press service said
This is the first Palestinian embassy in Western Europe after Sweden recognised Palestine as a state last October
President Mahmoud Abbas attended the inauguration ceremony which marks the upgrading of Palestinian diplomatic representation in Sweden. The event was attended by a large number of Arab and foreign diplomats and politicians, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.
Abbas, in a joint press conference held with Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, pointed out that Sweden’s recognition of Palestine will “push forward peace negotiations on the basis of international decisions that cannot be disregarded.”
“This act shows the morality of Sweden’s positions in political and diplomatic issues; they are balanced and just. We hope that the governments of the European states will recognise Palestine upon the recommendations of their parliaments,” Abbas said.
Sweden vows financial aid, urges reforms
Abbas is currently in Stockholm to hold talks with the Swedish officials and secure closer ties with the European country.
Earlier in the day, Sweden announced its decision to increase financial aid to Palestinians, but also urged the Palestinian authorities to carry out reforms, epically with regard to women’s situation in the country.
“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,” said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven during a meeting with Abbas.
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.
Israel has lashed out at the Swedish government for the inauguration of the Palestinian embassy.
This decision “is an unfortunate consequence of the mistaken policy adopted by the Swedish government. It will serve no purpose and certainly not advance us in the pursuit of negotiations,”said Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.