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Archbishop critical of Sweden’s “no” regarding Unesco

Press Release   •   Nov 04, 2011 09:54 GMT

“To our great surprise, Sweden belonged to the small group of fourteen countries that chose to vote against Palestine’s membership in Unesco,” write the Church of Sweden’s Archbishop and the head of foreign affairs to Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Last Monday, a vast majority of voters approved Palestinian membership in the UN agency Unesco. A large group of countries chose to abstain from voting until the issue of Palestine’s full membership in the UN was addressed. Sweden, however, joined a minority that voted against membership.

With reference to this vote, the Church of Sweden has received many questions regarding why Sweden seems to have abandoned its previous, well-known and highly-valued support for the rights of Palestinians. As a result, the Church of Sweden’s Archbishop Anders Wejryd and head of foreign affairs Erik Lysén have written to the Prime Minister to criticise the vote.

“Sweden’s action is both surprising and unfortunate,” write the Church of Sweden’s Archbishop Anders Wejryd and the head of foreign affairs Erik Lysén. They believe that it is essential to clarify that Sweden continues to support the two-state solution and the position that Israel should end its occupation remain unchanged.

“Unfortunately in this context, the vote against Palestine’s membership in Unesco gives entirely the wrong impression.”

Download the entire letter below.

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