STOCKHOLM, Sweden: The Swedish government on Thursday officially recognized the state of Palestine, becoming the first major European country to do so.
“Today, the government takes the decision to recognize the state of Palestine,” the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement on Thursday.
“It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” she added.
The foreign minister said that the country’s move aims to support moderate Palestinians in equalizing their status with that of Israel in peace negotiations, as well as giving hope to young people on both sides.
Sweden became the first major European country to officially recognize the state of Palestine, joining 130 other countries including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia which had already made a similar decision.
The newly elected Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on October 3 that Sweden would recognize the state of Palestine.
The UN General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012 but the European Union and most EU countries, have yet to give official recognition.