Sweden, Israel in spat over ‘stolen organs’
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