Netanyahu said to refuse meeting at UN with Swedish premier
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Israel says Pence to demand reform of UNHRC

Netanyahu said to refuse meeting at UN with Swedish premier

PM reportedly rejects invitation for sit down with Stefan Lofven for 2nd year in a row, over Sweden’s recognition of Palestinian state

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven arrives for a summit on relations between the European Union and Turkey and on managing the migration crisis, on November 29, 2015 in Brussels. (Thierry Charlier/AFP)
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven arrives for a summit on relations between the European Union and Turkey and on managing the migration crisis, on November 29, 2015 in Brussels. (Thierry Charlier/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly rejected a proposed meeting with Sweden’s prime minister during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, in part because of Sweden’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state in 2014.

The snub of Stefan Lofven marked the second year in a row the prime minister has turned down the Swedish prime minister’s invitation for a sit down, Channel 2 reported Saturday. The request for a meeting was rebuffed as “not possible,” the TV report said.

Israel has had tense relations with Sweden since Lofven’s election in 2014, shortly after which Stockholm recognized the State of Palestine, becoming the first major European Union member to do so.

The move was met with widespread anger in Israel and ties between the two countries have remained strained over comments made by Lofven concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including that a wave of stabbing attacks in Israel did not constitute terrorism.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom shakes hands with her Palestinian counterpart Riad al-Maliki during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 16, 2016. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has also drawn Israel’s ire for a series of comments she made, such as linking Palestinian frustration to the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris by the Islamic State.

The report said while in New York for the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu will meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Brazilian President Michel Temer, Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who Netanyahu praised for his country’s support of Israel at the UN during his visit to Israel in July.

Netanyahu is also scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump on Monday ahead of the General Assembly.

Vice President Mike Pence, right, is introduced to speak by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, left, in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, during a ceremony commemorating Israeli Independence Day. (AP/Susan Walsh)

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said Saturday that “there is a new era at the United Nations” under the Trump presidency, adding that Vice President Mike Pence would be coming to the UN on Tuesday to discuss the imperative for wide-ranging reform of the UN Human Rights Council, which Israel and the US have repeatedly condemned for anti-Israel obsession and bias. Unless such reform is instituted, the US will no longer “support” the UNHRC, Danon said Pence would make clear.

The TV report said Holland the UK were also committed to reform of the UNHRC.

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