image Photo: Flash90, Reuters

Israel, Sweden hold talks

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid mended fractured ties with Sweden after a 7-year diplomatic spat between the two countries.

By Erin Viner

Minister Lapid, who also serves as Alternate Premier, announced in a Tweet on his official account that he held a telephone conversation with Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde.

The call, he pointed out, is “the first in 7 years between the Foreign Ministers of our countries,” which he said “symbolizes the relaunching of relations at this level.”

There has been a rift between the sides since Sweden, under leadership of Social Democratic Party leader and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, became the first major European country in October 2014 to recognize Palestine as a state. After condemning the move and briefly recalling Israel’s ambassador to Sweden for consultations, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his intention to boycott the slated visit to Jerusalem by his counterpart at the time, Margot Wallström, who ultimately canceled the trip January 2015.

The Lapid-Linde talks represent the first official contact between the two counties since that time.

In a separate Tweet, Minister Lapid expressed appreciation for Linde’s “statement regarding Sweden’s strong and solid commitment to the security of Israel,” and her “recognition in the course of our conversation of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People.”

Adding that discussion also included Israel’s participation at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism on 13 October, Jerusalem’s top diplomat said that he is looking forward “to increased cooperation with Sweden on bilateral and multilateral issues.”