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Peace process focus of discussion
The Middle East peace process was on the agenda when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Sweden and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on 10 February. The discussions also addressed the issue of how Sweden will contribute following its recognition of the State of Palestine.
"We talked about our bilateral relations and the next step in the peace process in Palestine. And how Sweden can contribute - but also what we expect of Palestine. I said that President Abbas should be prepared to compromise. I also asked for respect for Israel's security. It is of the utmost importance that the peace process gets moving again," said Mr Löfven.
The Palestinian President emphasised that relations between Palestine and Sweden are developing on diplomatic, political and economic levels.
"Your decision to recognise Palestine as a State ought to advance the process. We appreciate these sympathetic steps to enable our people to enjoy its fundamental right to create an independent state, in accordance with the two-state solution, so as to live side by side in peace and security, according to international rules in the peace process," said Mr Abbas.
Another purpose of the visit was to sign a new five-year agreement on development cooperation between Sweden and Palestine, which will take effect immediately. Sweden is increasing its support to Palestine to SEK 1.5 billion.
"The agreement means that we will strive together towards democracy with respect for human rights, and for the environment. We aim to stimulate the private sector in the Palestinian economy," said Mr Löfven.
Mr Löfven stressed that there is no contradiction between maintaining good relations with Palestine and keeping up good relations with Israel.
"We are convinced that people in both Israel and Palestine have a right to peace. Naturally, the Swedish Government wants to see a resumption of the peace negotiations. Both sides must be prepared to compromise and it is extremely important that a solution is reached - a two-state solution - so that both Israel and Palestine can live side by side in security. Sweden stands ready to contribute in any way we can. There is a long way left to go before all the objectives are achieved but Sweden will support Palestine in becoming a model for the region in terms of women's rights and human rights," said Mr Löfven.
The Swedish Government announced in its Statement of Government Policy on 3 October 2014 that Sweden would recognise the State of Palestine. The Government took the formal decision to recognise the State of Palestine on 30 October.
Prime Minister's Office (email to the Prime Ministers office)
Published 11 February 2015
Last updated 11 February 2015