Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is refusing to meet with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem during her upcoming visit to Israel next month, in response to Sweden’s recent recognition of a Palestinian state.
In October, Sweden became the first major European Union member nation to officially recognize Palestinian statehood. According to a report by Israel’s Channel 2, Lieberman is upset that the Swedish government did not listen to Israeli input on the matter, as opposed to other European countries that did consult with Israel on the issue before their legislatures recently voted in favor of a Palestinian state.
On Wednesday, Lieberman accused Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas of duplicity in interviews with Arabic and international media, saying, “I read an interview [Abbas] gave in Egypt. … He spoke about six million refugees trying to return to Israel, including himself. … [He expressed] the same uncompromising stances, the same worldview as Hamas.”
“When he is interviewed here [in Israel], he says the right of return doesn’t exist, but in Arabic, he says the opposite,” said Lieberman. “We want a real, serious partner. … We need the Europeans to understand that if they want to see peace, the PA must also be responsible-not to escalate diplomatic efforts in the international arena, but to come to the negotiating table.”