Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmud Abbas arrived in Stockholm on Monday, for an official visit tainted by a diplomatic row with
Israel following Sweden's recognition of the PA as "Palestine," according to AFP.
Swedish relations with Israel sank to an all-time low after the Nordic country's center-left government decided in October to recognize the PA as "Palestine," just weeks after it took office.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem – who last month postponed a trip to Israel – has said she will use the Abbas visit to "prepare for a revived peace process."
"It's of course not about being the most central actor in potential peace talks," political scientist Ann-Marie Ekengren at Gothenburg University told AFP. "But perhaps Wallstroem sees Sweden's role as a facilitator which sets the stage for future negotiations."
Abbas' visit is his first since 2009.
"It does not make us happy to see (Abbas) here on a visit with a new government that very quickly decided to recognize Palestine," Israel's
ambassador to Stockholm Isaac Bachman told news agency TT.
The announcement of Sweden's recognition of "Palestine" in late October saw withering verbal jabs about IKEA furniture between Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Wallstroem, as well as Swedish financial institutions boycotting Israeli companies.
Most recently, Wallstrom announced she was indefinitely postponing a planned trip to Israel; Israel responded that Wallstrom was not welcome for an official visit in the country.