Sweden will cut aid to Palestinians unless peace talks resume, minister warns

(JTA) — Sweden will reduce its aid to the Palestinians by 28 percent unless progress is made in peace talks with Israel, a Swedish minister said.

In an interview Thursday with Sveriges Radio, Development Aid Minister Gunilla Carlsson said that unless talks on a two-state solution move forward, her country would slash 28 percent of its annual aid package of $107 million to the West Bank and Gaza.

“Is there any merit in pursuing the prerequisites for a two-state solution when Israel and the Palestinians themselves do not want to sit down at the negotiating table?” Carlsson asked during the interview.

The Palestinians have refused to engage in peace talks with Israel unless it halts construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. Israel has declined to meet any preconditions and has expressed its readiness to discuss the issue in the framework of talks.

“I don’t want to haggle using aid money, but I can only take the perspective of the Swedish taxpayers,” Carlsson said. “One wants results.”

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