Stockholm's foreign minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement that "the government considers that international law criteria for recognition of a Palestinian state have been fulfilled." Prime Minister Stefan Lofven first announced the news when he was sworn in, but Wallstrom's statement makes the move official — making Sweden the first government in the European Union to recognize the Palestinian state.
"Some will claim that today's decision comes too early. I'm rather afraid it's too late," Wallstrom wrote in the Swedish Dagens Nyheter. "We've seen how the peace negotiations once again have halted, how decisions on new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have obstructed a two-state solution, and how violence has returned to Gaza."
Israel isn't happy about Sweden's move, though — the country has publicly protested its recognition of the Palestinian state. The U.S. has also called the recognition "premature," encouraging negotiation between Israel and Palestine. --Meghan DeMaria
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