STOCKHOLM (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — Sweden’s new government says it has recognized a Palestinian state, a move declared by the prime minister as a priority for the left-leaning minority coalition.

The EU member country on Thursday joined only two other Western European countries – Malta and Cyprus – that have officially recognized Palestine.

Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Sweden had decided on the move because the “criteria of international law” had been fulfilled, saying there is “a territory, a people and government.”

The EU has said that it would recognize a Palestinian state “when appropriate” and has urged that negotiations be resumed as soon as possible to achieve a two-state solution.

Earlier this month, British lawmakers held a symbolic vote in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told lawmakers in his inaugural address in October that his Social Democrat government would to recognize a Palestinian state, the Reuters news agency points out. That was criticized by Israel and the United States.

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