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Abbas to visit Stockholm next month

Sweden, the first EU country to recognize a Palestinian state, expected to press PA president on peace talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on December 14, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Abbas Momani)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on December 14, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Abbas Momani)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Stockholm next month after Sweden became the first major state of the European Union to recognize Palestine, the Swedish government announced Friday.

“The visit of President Abbas, by invitation from the prime minister, is confirmed for February 10,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Ulla Jacobson told AFP. “He will also meet the foreign minister, the king and the archbishop.”

She said the agenda would include the Arab-Israeli peace process and “what Sweden can offer after [its] recognition” of Palestine in October 2014.

Sweden’s recognition of Palestine came despite strong criticism from Israel, which earlier this month said Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was not welcome for an official visit in the country.

Wallström had been due to visit Israel in mid-January to attend a memorial service for the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved Jews during the Holocaust. She was also expected to visit the Palestinian territories.

The Swedish FM said she would use Abbas’s visit to push for stalled peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians to resume.

“We will make demands of the Palestinians. That’s what we will use our relationship for,” she told Swedish Radio.

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