Abbas Hopes Swedish Recognition to Influence International Community

STOCKHOLM, February 10, 2015 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday expressed hope that the Swedish recognition of the state of Palestine will leverage the international community’s support of the Palestinians’ just cause.

Abbas commended Sweden’s recent recognition of Palestine as in independent state, which, according to him, bolsters the Palestinian people’s struggle toward freedom and independence. He called upon other European countries to follow suit.

Abbas confirmed that Sweden’s recognition of Palestine and the United Nations Secretary General’s membership will support peace negotiations and will not replace such efforts.

President Mahmoud Abbas said during an official visit to Sweden that the Palestinian leadership was looking forward to resuming peace talks with Israel, on the basis of the international legitimacy resolutions.

“We are extending our hands to a just peace based on the international legitimacy resolutions,” he said during a press conference with Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, stressing that Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian Territories and its “collective punishment” against the Palestinian people will never create peace.

Abbas said that Israel’s freeze of the tax revenues, collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, for the second month in a row would certainly affect the sustainability of the government’s civil and security system.

During his visit to Stockholm, Abbas signed with Lofven several agreements on cooperation and development. The agreements would be effective starting from 2015 until 2019.

Last October, the parliament of Sweden recognized the state of Palestine and concluded that ‘the international law criteria for the recognition of Palestine have been met.’

Sweden said that such decision would facilitate reaching a peace agreement, ‘by making the parties less unequal, supporting the moderate Palestinian forces and contributing to hope at a time when tensions are increasing and no peace talks are taking place.’

The Swedish government has also decided to increase aid and adopt a five-year aid strategy including substantially increased support to Palestinian state-building; aid to Palestine will increase from SEK 500 million to SEK 1.5 billion ($67.8 million to $203.4 billion) over the next five years.