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Arab ministers denounce Sweden’s statement

Wallstrom’s comments are irresponsible, unacceptable

Gulf News

Dubai: Arab foreign ministers have denounced anti-Saudi Arabia statements by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, saying Arab countries rejected them fully.

“The ministers have voiced their condemnation and astonishment at the issuance of such statements that are incompatible with the fact that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia,” a statement issued by the ministers at the end of their Arab League meeting in Cairo said. “Sharia has guaranteed human rights and preserved people’s lives, possessions, honour and dignity. The ministers consider the comments as irresponsible and unacceptable,” the Arab League statement said.

Swedish media reported that Wallstrom accused Saudi Arabia of blocking her speech at an Arab League meeting “due to her stance on human rights in the region.”

“The explanation we have been given is that Sweden has highlighted the situation for democracy and human rights and that is why they do not want me to speak,” Wallstrom told news agency TT in Cairo. “It’s a shame that a country has blocked my participation.”

According to Swedish media, the Arab League secretary-general Nabeel Al Arabi had invited Wallstrom to speak as a guest of honour at the opening of the foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo on Monday.

Wallstrom had planned to explain in her speech Sweden’s rationale for recognising Palestine, The Local daily said.

She was also intending to speak about gender equality and the role of the Arab League in combating terrorism.

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