Sweden denies nixing trip over IDF story

Officials in Stockholm deny Bildt cancelled Israel visit because of controversial 'Aftonbladet' article.

carl bildt 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
carl bildt 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Swedish officials on Sunday denied that Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt canceled a planned trip to Israel this Friday because of Israeli anger at his government's refusal to condemn an article in a Swedish newspaper accusing IDF soldiers of killing Palestinians and harvesting their organs. While Swedish officials told The Jerusalem Post late last week that the visit was in doubt, Israeli diplomatic officials said Saturday night that the visit had definitely been canceled. Anna Brodin, political officer at the Swedish consulate in Jerusalem, said on Sunday that Bildt has put off his visit in the hope Mideast peacemaking would progress during the UN General Assembly later this month. "It has been delayed until after the General Assembly in New York, when there might be more substance in the process," Brodin said. But in Stockholm, Bildt spokeswoman Irena Busic denied the foreign minister had canceled a trip to Israel, saying a date had never been set. Now was not a good time for such a trip, she said, citing logistical reasons and the "situation in the peace process." Both Swedish officials denied the article in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet had anything to do with Bildt's travel plans. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was considering not meeting Bildt unless he condemned the article, something the Swedish government - citing freedom of the press - had adamantly refused to do.