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Swedish FM to make first official visit to Israel in a decade

Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde arrives for a news conference after talks with her Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic, in Belgrade, Serbia, May 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde arrives for a news conference after talks with her Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic, in Belgrade, Serbia, May 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s foreign minister will make the first official visit to Israel in a decade, the government says, following seven years of rocky ties after Stockholm recognized a Palestinian state

“Foreign Minister Ann Linde will visit Israel and Palestine on October 18 and 19,” the government says today in a press release.

Since its recognition of the “State of Palestine” in 2014, Sweden has had a difficult relationship with Israel.

Linde will meet tomorrow with her counterpart Yair Lapid as well as President Isaac Herzog. She will also visit Yad Vashem and participate in the opening of an exhibition celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Having a normal relationship at the level of the foreign minister itself is a new chapter in our foreign policy dialogue,” the minister told Swedish news agency TT on Friday.

On September 15, during a first formal telephone call with Lapid, she had emphasized “the importance of our bilateral relationship.”

“Both of us stressed that friendship and cooperation can and must go hand with respect for each other’s convictions & differences,” Linde tweeted, expressing her support for Israel’s security demands.

The thaw in relations does not call into question Sweden’s recognition of a Palestine state. Linde is also due to visit the West Bank, where she will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as well as the head of the PA government and foreign minister.

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