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Swedish house backs Libya involvement

Swedish house backs Libya involvement

Published: 21 Mar 2011 18:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Mar 2011 18:30 GMT+01:00

The Swedish government can count on the broad support in parliament to send JAS Gripen aircraft to assist the UN-backed Libyan operation, with only the Sweden Democrats expressing a dissenting opinion.

The last Swedish fighter aircraft saw action was almost 50 years ago.

It is reported that NATO may soon approach Sweden with to participate in the international effort against the Libyan regime. The defence alliance however spent the day discussing which nation was best equipped to lead the operation.

"We must wait and see what NATO is up to. This is of significance," foreign minister Carl Bildt said.

If NATO is unable to agree Bildt has not ruled out Sweden being able to take part in an operation led by a group of countries, including France, the United States and Britain, although Sweden would be in unfamiliar position.

The first few days of the air operation against the rule of Muammar Qaddafi have been led by a coalition led by France, Britain and the US. France and Turkey are said to be opposed to NATO taking over the operation.

For Sweden it would be easier to take part within a NATO-led effort, despite not being a formal member of the alliance as the military is familiar with procedures following previous cooperation.

Swedish participation would require a swift decision in parliament and according to a review of the positions of parliamentary parties, a government proposition would receive the broad support of the Riksdag.

The Social Democrats have expressed their firm support for a Swedish contribution to the operation.

"For me, it is irrelevant if the request comes from France, the United Nations or from NATO. The UN has called for the mission," said the party's foreign policy spokesperson Urban Ahlin.

Left Party leader Lars Ohly said that he was cautiously positive to sending the JAS Gripen fighter into combat.

The Sweden Democrats, who currently hold 19 votes in parliament, expressed their opposition to a Swedish contribution to the military effort preferring instead to spend the money on measures to address a feared refugee crisis.

The last time Swedish fighter aircraft participated in battle was almost 50 years ago, when J 29 "Flying Barrel" planes fought in the Congo in the early 60's.

The Swedish Armed Forces have informed the government that it can send up to eight JAS Gripen planes to Libya.

The aircraft form part of the Nordic battle group, the most well-trained air force unit in Sweden, and fully compatible with NATO.

According to Anders Silwer at the armed forces, the unit could be deployed to the combat zone - for example at air bases in Sicily and Crete - "days" after a political decision.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:54 March 21, 2011 by superturbo
Oh no, please don't waste any more of my tax-money on this kind of operations. Unfortunately, the politicians are as irresponsible as ever when it comes to managing tax-payer's money :(
23:43 March 21, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Danish jets are already flying combat missions against Gadafi. Why is Sweden dragging its feet?
01:25 March 22, 2011 by Nemesis
Sweden is dragging its feet for a simple reason.

They want to be seen to be friends of there masters in the US, but also want to keep the vote in Sweden.

Fence sitting as usual.
07:32 March 22, 2011 by blursd
Wow ... eight planes ... don't go all in now.
08:08 March 22, 2011 by Prat
UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011), to protect civilians in Libya, garnered 10 supporting votes. But the UN Security Council is a small clique of 15 nations (of whom 5 enjoy "permanent" or unelected positions). Why should Sweden follow their lead?

Maybe because Sweden's own leadership is feeble...

Sweden might most helpfully work to enforce the arms embargo & to prevent mercenary participation in Libya, as demanded by the above resolution. But they would perhaps then need to police their friends, allies and their own corporate interests.

Full text of UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011):

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10200.doc.htm
09:31 March 22, 2011 by zerotolerancenow
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:05 March 22, 2011 by johnny1939
Sitting on the fence is better than causing death and destruction. Did not ever think that I would agree w/ SD.
18:49 March 29, 2011 by DJECKY
yes i agree with you @johnny1939.its better to take part in mass killing,kill all those muslims there, kill everybody even children bome thier houses destroy everything you guys see,then after take thier oil from them and leave the few ppl people standing in poverty,

that is better than sitting on the fence while others kill then you come after for the booty.kill those animals bros,.
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