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Palestinians Hail Swedish Announcement On Statehood, As U.S. Urges Caution

  • RFE/RL

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven

A senior Palestinian negotiator has said Sweden's decision to recognize a Palestinian state was "courageous," but the United States urged caution.

Earlier On October 3, Sweden's new Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said in his inaugural address to parliament that "a two-state solution requires mutual recognition and the will to coexist peacefully."

Loefven added that this should take place with respect for the "legitimate demands of the Palestinians and the Israelis as regards their right to self-determination and security."

The move would make Sweden the first European country to recognize the Palestinian state while being a member of the European Union.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said, "We salute the announcement by the Swedish prime minister," calling on other EU states to follow suit.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, said "the time has come for the entire world to recognize the Palestinian state."

However, Washington warned that it would be "premature" to recognize a new Palestinian state.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on October 3, when asked about Sweden's decision, "We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature."

She added, "We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues, and mutual recognitions by both parties."

Israelis and the Palestinians, Psaki said, must be the ones "to agree on the terms on how they live in the future two states, living side-by-side."

EU member countries that have recognized a Palestinian state include Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Romania.

However, they did so before becoming EU members.

Loefven's Social Democratic-Green Party coalition -- which formed a minority government on October 3 -- is more supportive of demands for a Palestinian state than the previous center-right administration.

Sweden voted in favor of Palestinian observer status at the United Nations in 2012, which was granted despite opposition from the United States and other countries.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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