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Sweden's foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, to give up post

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden's foreign minister announced Friday she is stepping down, saying she would leave after almost five years in the post to spend more time with her family. Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said she had given notice to Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. It's not clear when her resignation will take effect.

"For five years, I have wholeheartedly devoted myself to promoting Sweden's security and prosperity in the world. To face the big challenges of our time, in cooperation with others," Wallstrom said. "I now want to spend more time with my husband, my children and my grandchildren."

The outspoken Wallstrom, 64, became Sweden's top diplomat in October 2014. That year, she became the first European Union foreign minister to recognize a Palestinian state to the consternation of Israel.

The question of her successor will be addressed when the Swedish Parliament reconvenes Tuesday after its summer break, the prime minister told Swedish news agency TT. Lofven told TT that with Wallstrom as foreign minister "Sweden has received a great deal of respect and appreciation around the world."

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed admiration for Wallstrom and her achievements, including as the U.N.'s special representative for sexual violence in conflict, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"She has always shown a tremendous dedication to the advancement of human rights, the protection of the environment and as a trailblazer in spearheading Sweden's feminist foreign policy," Dujarric said.

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