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Sweden recognizes Palestinian state

The recognition comes as support for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

By Ed Adamczyk
Sweden recognizes Palestinian state
Palestinians hold a map of historic Palestine near Erez border crossing in Beit Hanoun northern Gaza on May 15, 2014. UPI File/Ismael Mohamad | License Photo

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Sweden officially recognized the Palestinian state Thursday, calling it a crucial step in encouraging other countries to do so.

The action is largely symbolic and is intended to support a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Sweden joins Malta and Cyprus as European nations recognizing Palestine; Britain currently has a motion in Parliament to recognize Palestine.

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Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said the decision was reached because Palestine's requirements as a country, according to international law, were fulfilled, noting, "There is a territory, a people and a government."

In a commentary published in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Wallstrom said, "Some will say today's decision comes too soon. I'm afraid, rather, that it is too late.The purpose of Sweden's recognition is to contribute to the goal that Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peaceful coexistence."

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven indicated his center-left government would seek Palestinian recognition in his inaugural address last month.

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