Swedish Prime Minister Rejects Israeli Criticism

Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has responded angrily to Israeli accusations calling Sweden the most hostile European nation regarding Israel.

This criticism comes after Sweden granted a visa to the new Palestinian minister in charge of refugees invited here by human rights organizations. Following European Union policy, the Swedish government took no contact with the visiting Palestinian, but argued that his membership in the newly-elected Hammas government does not mean that he is a terrorist and should be denied a visa.

Interviewed by Swedish radio news, the prime minister called the Israeli criticism ”inaccurate, unfair and insulting.”

The Social Democratic prime minister added that the affair has become exagerated here because of the coming elections in September.

Some non-socialist opposition politicians have criticized the Palestinian visit, and some argue that the minority government’s foreign policy has been colored by the opposition Left and Green parties informally supporting the government on some questions.

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