In diplomatic snub, Liberman refuses meeting with Swedish counterpart

FM rejects Swedish FM Margot Wallström's request to convene in Jerusalem during upcoming visit to Israel in January.

December 17, 2014 20:37
1 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman addresses the media in Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has refused to meet with his Swedish counterpart next month in light of Stockholm's decision to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.

Liberman on Wednesday rejected Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström's request to convene a meeting in Jerusalem in January during her upcoming visit to Israel.

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In October, Sweden was the the first major European country to recognize the state of "Palestine."

Liberman has staunchly condemned the Swedish government's willingness to recognize a Palestinian state, and previously snubbed the country's Prime Minister Sefan Lofven over the issue.

The foreign minister recalled Israel's Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman to Jerusalem for consultations following the move.

As Palestinians seek statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as a capital, they sidestepped stalled peace talks by lobbying foreign powers to recognize their sovereignty claim.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution supporting Palestinian statehood in principle in a compromise motion that did not follow some European national legislatures in backing immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.

The EU move follows Sweden's decision in October to recognize Palestine and non-binding votes since then by parliaments in Britain, France and Ireland in favor of their recognition that demonstrated growing European impatience with the stalled peace process.

Following a deal among the main parties, the motion that was carried stated "(The European Parliament) supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced."

The UN General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of “the sovereign State of Palestine” in 2012, but the European Union and most EU countries have yet to give official recognition.

Reuters and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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