Swe­den, Is­rael in spat over ‘stolen or­gans’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

REYK­JAVIK: Swedish For­eign Min­is­ter Carl Bildt yes­ter­day played down a diplo­matic row with Is­rael sparked by a Swedish news­pa­per’s claims that Is­raeli sol­diers stole or­gans from dead Pales­tini­ans.

When asked by re­porters if the re­port pub­lished by the Afton­bladet tabloid would sour re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries, Bildt said: “I don’t think so.”

“We have very strong state re­la­tion­ship be­tween Is­rael and our gov­ern­ment. We are both open and demo­cratic so­ci­eties,” he told re­porters dur­ing a meet­ing of Nordic and Baltic for­eign min­is­ters in the Ice­landic cap­i­tal Reyk­javik.

But Bildt de­clined to con- demn the piece, say­ing the gov­ern­ment had to re­spect the Swedish con­sti­tu­tion’s prin­ci­ples on free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

Ten­sions be­tween the two coun­tries have been strained in re­cent years. Swe­den has reg­u­larly ac­cused Is­rael of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions, while Is­rael ac­cuses Swe­den of be­ing proPales­tinian. – Sapa-AFP

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