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Sweden Defends Visa for Palestinian Minister

Published torsdag 18 maj 2006 kl 14.22

  The Swedish foreign ministry continues to defend the decision to grant a visa to the Palestinian minister for refugees – who recently meet with human rights organizations and parliamentarians here in Sweden.

When asked by the Swedish consulate in Israel, the ministry concluded that being a member of a terrorist organization does not mean that the indilviudal is a terrorist – and that this is in line European Union policy.

Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson rejects the new criticsm – this time coming from Germany – that Sweden violated the intentions of the EU not to have any contacts with the newly-elected Hammas government – since it has not recognized Israel.

He calls the German reaction ”exagerated.”

Both France and Israel have earlier criticized Sweden – the later describing Sweden the most hostile nation in Europe concerning Israel.

The Swedish government point out that no official contacts were taken with the visiting minister. The Palestinian was quoted in the media here saying that 2 states of Israel and Palestine could live side by side.

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