Jerusalem: Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Liberman criticized Sweden for planning to formally recognize Palestine, and said its ambassador will be called in by the ministry to discuss the issue.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said on 3 October the Palestinians have “legitimate demands for national sovereignty," and therefore his nation “will recognize the State of Palestine," at some point in the future. Several other European states, including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland and Romania, have made similar declarations.

“Prime Minister Loefvan needs to understand that no declaration or step by external party can replace direct negotiations between the parties," Liberman said on Sunday in a post on his Facebook page. “I have instructed the foreign ministry staff to invite the Swedish ambassador to Israel in for a discussion," Liberman wrote.

“Sweden’s position is commendable, honourable," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday, in comments reported by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa. “Issue of recognizing Palestinian state is under consideration in many countries around the world, especially in Europe, and we hope these nations follow Sweden’s example," Abbas said. Bloomberg

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