Sweden's new prime minister said today that his government will recognize a Palestinian state. In a declaration listing his government's priorities, Social Democratic leader Stefan Lofven told lawmakers that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved only through a two-state solution requiring "mutual recognition" and a will from both sides to co-exist peacefully. "Therefore Sweden will recognize the state of Palestine," Lofven said. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psakia said the US looks forward to working with the new government of Sweden but called international recognition of a Palestinian state "premature."
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki welcomed Lofven's announcement and called on other European Union countries to follow suit. "In the name of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership, we thank and salute the Swedish position," Malki said in a statement. He said the only other Western European countries that have recognized a Palestinian state are Malta and Cyprus. Some Eastern European countries did so during the Cold War. (Read more Sweden stories.)