Sweden is set to give Palestine up to 1.5 billion kronor ($200 million) in aid, Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has announced, hours after it became the first European Union country to officially recognize Palestine as a state.
Wallstrom said in a statement on Thursday that Palestine fulfilled the criteria for recognition as a state in international law despite it not having fixed borders, and would receive between 500 million kronor ($68 million) and 1.5 billion kronor under a five-year assistance plan.
Wallstrom said: ''There is a territory, there is also a population. There is also a government with the opportunity to exhibit internal and external control."
Sweeden has previously recognized states - Croatia in 1992 and Kosovo in 2008 - even though they lacked effective control over parts of its territory, Wallstrom said, underlying that Palestine was a similar case.
Wallstrom said the move showed Sweeden wanted to give its support to "the moderates among the Palestinians ... who will govern complex Palestinian policy and those who will soon again have to sit down at the negotiating table".
Referring to a warning on October 4 from the U.S. which cautioned Sweeden that recognizing Palestine was "premature" and "can only come through a negotiated outcome", Wallstrom said: "It’s not too early; the risk is that it’s too late."
She added: ''I would like to say that a six-year-old girl or a boy in Gaza has experienced three wars in their lifetime."
Sweeden supports a two-state solution and wants to give young people hope that "another peaceful world is possible", Wallstrom said.