Sweden first "old EU member" to recognize Palestine

STOCKHOLM -- Sweden on Thursday formally recognizeD Palestine as a state, making it "the first old European Union member" to do so.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

"The government will today make a decision to recognize the Palestinian state. This is an important step that confirms the right of Palestinians to self-determination," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom wrote in an article published in Sweden earlier.

She added that the government in Stockholm considers the international law criteria related to recognition of Palestine to have been fulfilled as it has a territory, "although without determined birders," a population, and a government.

"EU members confirmed in 2009 their readiness to recognize the state of Palestine when it was appropriate. We are now ready to take the lead. We hope this can show the way for others," Wallstrom wrote.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the "historic" move by Sweden, while the Israeli authorities condemned it.

According to the AFP news agency, at least 112 countries have recognized Palestine, while Palestinian authorities say this number in 134, including seven EU member-states that did so before joining the organization. They include the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta, and Cyprus.