Israel’s foreign minister visited Sweden on Monday in a fresh indication of improving relations between the two countries.
According to Eli Cohen, his trip to Stockholm was the first time in 22 years that an Israeli foreign minister had visited Sweden.
In a statement released by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, he declared, “We are starting a new chapter in relations between Israel and Sweden after years in which Sweden took a critical line against Israel.” He claimed that his encounter with Tobias Billstrom, his Swedish counterpart, indicated a “change in direction” of relations.
In a tweet, Billstrom described the discussion as “very good and productive.” “The first one in 20 years, so long overdue,” he continued.
After recognizing the Palestinian state in 2014, Sweden’s previous Social Democratic administration had tense relations with Israel, leading Israel to remove its ambassador to Sweden temporarily.
Israel claimed two years later that the then-Swedish foreign minister was “not welcome” after criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
However, things are starting to warm up. Sweden’s foreign minister then went to Israel in October 2021 to improve relations.
The current center-right government in Sweden, which took office last October, is anticipated to deepen those ties further.