BETHLEHEM, Palestine, Oct 4 – The prime minister of Sweden, on Friday, said that, the country would recognise the State of Palestine, becoming the first major Western European country to do so.

Prime Minister, Setfan Loefven, said, during his inaugural address, that “the conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law.”

“A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence. Sweden will therefore recognise the state of Palestine,” he added.

Although more than 134 countries around the world currently recognise the State of Palestine, the majority of Western Europe and North America have refused to do so, out of deference to Israel.

Sweden’s shift in position, however, suggests the possibility that others in Western Europe may follow suit, particularly given widespread anger at Israel’s massive assault on Gaza over the summer, that left more than 2,000 dead.

Loefven’s Social Democratic-Green Party coalition — which formed a minority government on Friday — is more supportive of demands for a Palestinian state than the previous centre-right administration.

Both the Greens and the Social Democrats opposed a decision by former foreign minister, Carl Bildt, to not give Swedish support to a UN vote recognising Palestine.

The Social Democrats, the largest party in the Swedish parliament, wrote in their election manifesto that “Israel’s war crimes must be investigated and the occupation of Gaza lifted.”

The party added that “Sweden and the rest of the world must actively support its (Palestine’s) work towards reconciliation.”

The prime minister did not specify whether the policy would be submitted to a vote in parliament.


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