US embassy: 'Sweden no longer neutral'
Published: 02 Dec 2010 07:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Dec 2010 07:24 GMT+01:00
USA's Sweden ambassador has reported that Sweden is a "strong and pragmatic partner", whose official non-alignment does not reflect reality, according to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks this week.
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Among the wealth of documents that the whistleblower website Wikileaks has exposed include several hundred from the US embassy in Stockholm, showing a close security arrangement with the US, according to the Svenska Daglbadet daily.
In a classified telegram from May 4th 2007, prior to prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's visit to the USA, the then US ambassador to Sweden, Michael Wood wrote that Sweden was a "pragmatic and strong" partner.
Wood added that even though the official line is non-alignment, Swedish participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace and role as leader of the EU's Nordic Battle Group show that the position is an untruth.
Then US president George W Bush is advised to discuss with Reinfeldt in private, if he wants to praise Sweden's role in the cooperation against terrorism, a formulation which is taken to meant that the ambassador did not believe that the extent of the cooperation is known across the government offices.
Wood furthermore wrote that information from Sweden's military and civil security services is an important source of information for the USA for Russian military conditions and for knowledge of Iran's nuclear programme.
According to further US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks this week, Sweden wanted Russian kicked out of the Council of Europe following the Georgian war in 2008.
"Sweden, as Chair of the Council of Europe, will seek to solicit support from other Council of Europe members against Russia and in the next few months will attempt to vote Russia out," an August 2008 cable from the US embassy in Stockholm read.
"This is still in the early planning stages, but is a current goal of (Foreign Minister) Bildt," the cable read.
"Current thinking is to use Sweden's chairmanship of the Council of Europe (until Nov. 2008) to mobilise support to kick Russia out of the Council of Europe," the note continued.
A spokesperson for Carl Bildt, who remains Sweden's foreign minister, refused
to comment on the cable when contacted by AFP.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt also refused to comment on the cable, telling the TT news agency that "I cannot judge this. I don't know what it (the cable) says or what Carl had in mind."
According to the document, Sweden, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, the Baltic states, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria wanted "a strong statement against Russian action."
Those countries disagreed with France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands,
Malta and Cyprus, for whom the priority was to "stop the suffering and ensure
the ceasefire is respected."
Russian troops invaded a part of Georgia in August 2008 to push back Georgian forces who were seeking to retake control of breakaway region South Ossetia, and they still occupy 20 percent of Georgia's territory.
At the time, Bildt evoked Adolf Hitler in condemning Russia's attacks on Georgia over the breakaway region, saying the protection of Russians there did not justify the assault.
The conflict had chilled relations between Russia and NATO, and between Sweden and Russia.