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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Sweden
29 November 2012

The Government Offices of Sweden - link to startpage

Arabic text:

Carl Bildt on Palestine's status in the UN

During today's vote at the UN General Assembly in New York, Sweden will vote in favour of the draft resolution that clearly supports a two-state solution and gives Palestine non-member observer state status.

Intensive diplomatic efforts have led up to today's vote. Sweden's approach throughout has been to strive for unity within the EU, but to vote in favour of the resolution if such a consensus was not possible to achieve.

It has been important not to lock our position too early, so as not to limit the scope for discussion on improving the text or clarifying it in other ways. This also became clear at the interpellation debate on the issue that took place in the Riksdag last week. In the response, and in the ensuing debate, the Government's position was also presented in the issue of recognition. The vote today will not change anything that was presented at that time.

A year ago, Sweden was one of the countries that voted against full membership for Palestine in UNESCO. Today's vote is a logical consequence of that. The issue today is about whether Palestine should be given the same status in the UN that the Vatican City State currently has. This will mean an important upgrade of Palestine's status. It should be seen as clear support for a two-state solution and for the efforts to initiate concrete negotiations for this. However, it does not entail the full membership, which requires a decision by the UN Security Council.

In a statement by Catherine Ashton, the EU has also clarified our expectation that the Palestinian leadership is now prepared for immediate and direct peace negotiations. And we naturally have the same expectations of Israel. Should they try to punish the Palestinian Authority for today's vote through various measures, it would be clearly counterproductive and something we would have reason to sharply criticise. If, following today's vote, the Palestinian leadership is prepared for direct and immediate negotiations in the way Israel has wanted, this must of course now be welcomed.

Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs

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