Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.Sweden is the first of the eight Arctic states and long members of European Union to officially recognize the state of Palestine.

In addressing the Riksdag, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that the conflict between Palestine and Israel can be solved only with a two-state solution. He added that they must negotiate "in accordance with international law".

In September, Sweden voted out Fredrik Reinfeldt's Alliance coalition after eight years in power, allowing Löfven's Social Democrats to form a new government with other left-wing parties such as the Greens.

Löfven said that a two-state solution must have mutual recognition which could lead to a peaceful co-existence. He added, without saying when Sweden's official recognition would start, that his country will recognize Palestine as a state.

Sweden will now join over 130 nations who recognize the state of Palestine. The majority of the 28 member states of the EU, however, have so far refused to recognize the state of Palestine while the ones that have – Slovakia, Poland and Hungary – did so prior to becoming EU members.

The Palestinians have been fighting for independence in the West Bank and its capital East Jerusalem for many years as well as in the Gaza Strip.

Analysts claim Sweden will face criticism from the US and Israel, who insist only negotiations could lead to an independent Palestine state.

Source: IceNews