Thursday March 7, 2013; with an overwhelming vote of 299 to 20, the Swedish Parliament upgraded the status of the Palestinian representative office in the country to a full status granting the mission the title of embassy. The parliament failed to recognize a Palestinian State.The vote ratifies that June 28 2012 Agreement signed between Sweden and Palestine regarding upgrading the status of the Palestine Mission in the country. The agreement grants the representative office in the country all privileges, immunities and exceptions granted to all embassies in the country.

The June 28 agreement was signed by the Palestinian Ambassador in Sweden, Hala Fariz, and the Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, and states that “the host country (Sweden) would grant the Palestinian Mission in the country a full embassy status, as stated in the Vienna Agreement of 1961 that deals with diplomatic relations between world countries.

Yet, the new Swedish legislators voted 179 against, and 140 in favor of a proposal to recognize a Palestinian State.

The Thursday vote in Sweden follows similar decisions made by Hungary, Poland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Malta, Bulgaria and many other countries in Europe that granted the Palestinian missions embassy status.

It is worth mentioning that Sweden was one of the countries, that back in November of last year, voted for Palestine as a non-member observer state at the United Nations.

Last year’s UN General Assembly vote that granted Palestine a nonmember State status was won by the votes of 139 countries, while 9 countries voted against and 41 absented.

The countries that voted “No” are Israel, the United States, Canada, Panama, the Czech Republic, Marshal Islands, Nauru, Micronesia, and Palau.