Swedish FM: We won’t unilaterally recognize PA state

Bildt: Area between Jordan River and Mediterranean “ain’t that big”; Palestinian state will have to cooperate closely with Israel.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt with FM Lieberman 311 Re (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt with FM Lieberman 311 Re
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Sweden is not considering going the way of a number of South American countries and unilaterally recognizing a Palestinians state within the 1967 lines, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Bildt’s words come amid consistent reports of concern in Jerusalem that a number of European nations might follow the lead of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and other South American states and recognize a Palestinian state.
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Indeed, fending off such an eventuality is considered one of a number of reasons Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering launching a new diplomatic initiative, widely believe to consist of a proposal for a long-term interim agreement and establishment of a Palestinian state within provisional borders.
Bildt’s comments are significant because Sweden is widely considered in Jerusalem as being among the most pro- Palestinian states in the EU, one that would naturally lean toward recognizing unilateral Palestinian statehood.
“I will look forward to recognizing a Palestinian state as soon as possible, but there has to be a Palestinian state,” Bildt said during an interview.
“And a state has to be founded on an end of occupation, and an end of occupation is based upon an agreement with Israel.”
Bildt, who is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu on Thursday and who met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier this week, said his message to the Palestinians was to continue with the state building efforts of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
“The message I gave them is that they are building Palestine every day; don’t wait for the peace agreement, you are building structures, security and economy, so that when the peace agreement comes, hopefully sooner rather than later, there is a stable viable structure there,” he said.
“That is what we are trying to support. The building blocks of peace. But you can’t put them together in place of peace.”
Bildt said the “most fundamental definition of a state” is that it controls its own territory, and that the Palestinians won’t control their own territory unless there is an agreement with Israel.
Saying that the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean “ain’t that big,” Bildt said the reality is that a Palestinian state will have “to be in close cooperation with Israel.”
The Palestinians have not been pushing Sweden toward recognition at this time, Bildt said.
Also on Wednesday, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store met with Netanyahu, as part of a oneday visit that also took him to Ramallah and meetings with Abbas and Fayyad.
Store, who was here in mid- January, arrived as part of a tour to the region, and traded assessments with Netanyahu about the rapidly changing regional situation, with the prime minister stressing his concern that Iran and Islamic radicals will take advantage of the situation.
Netanyahu, according to officials, also bewailed that the Palestinians were not coming to the negotiating table, and rather were interested getting the international community to impose a solution.
According to the officials, Netanyahu did not give Store details about the new diplomatic initiative he is expected to announce.
Bildt, meanwhile, declined to comment on the initiative, saying he did not know the details.
At the same time, when asked about the idea of a long-term interim agreement instead of a final agreement, Bildt said that he did not see why it would not be possible to get to a final agreement swiftly, and that the recently leaked “Palestine Papers” showed that an agreement was “really close.”
The full interview with Bildt will appear in Friday’s Post.