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Social Democrats agree to keep Gripen in Libya

Social Democrats agree to keep Gripen in Libya

Published: 06 Jun 2011 09:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Jun 2011 09:59 GMT+02:00

One or a couple Gripen aircraft to stay on for the prolonged operation in Libya.

This is a scenario that the Social Democrats are open for in the ongoing negotiations with the Moderates.

Urban Ahlin, the Social Democrats' foreign policy spokesman, spent Sunday on the phone with foreign minister Carl Bildt, currently in Singapore.

"The negotiations are moving forward. We've gone a little deeper into what NATO is demanding," Ahlin said to news agency TT.

"And I don't mean the letter from Anders Fogh Rasmussen, (NATO's secretary general) but the more specific demand from NATO, based on the deficiencies in the operation that they need help with."

Ahlin says that the two parties have the same idea of what NATO wants.

One focus of the negotiations has been political solutions for Libya when there is a ceasefire, and the responsibility has passed from NATO to the UN and international contact group.

"We've had a lot of discussions of what the Swedish support should look like at that point," said Ahlin.

The topics are aid, humanitarian support, building democracy, and a naval force to monitor the arms embargo.

The question of using eight Gripen aircraft, which has been a sore point in the discussions, is now opening up for the debate.

While the Social Democrats continue to demand that the aircraft not be used in the enforcement of Libya's no-fly zone, Urban Ahlin now opens a window for the possibility of other Swedish flight missions.

"I'm not excluding the possibility that one or some Gripen will stay on for recon missions," he said to TT.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is also open to bringing down the number of Gripen aircraft in Libya, if the Swedish air operation changes its focus.

When it comes to Swedish troops overseas, there is a long tradition of wide political agreements, over party lines, and the goal is to present such an agreement in Riksdag on Wednesday.

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

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Your comments about this article

20:00 June 6, 2011 by StockholmSam
Gripen has been losing sales lately so they need to demonstrate it to potential buyers.
21:33 June 6, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
Cowards can build a fighter plan but can't fight, okay.
23:01 June 6, 2011 by sunnchilde
Do you people ever want international buyers for your Gripen fighters? Then show the world how bad ass your fighters are in combat missions! I don't understand this. "We want to sell our planes! But we don't...we don't...we don't want to USE them!"

Why do the Israelis buy and use the AH-64 Apache helicopter made in America? Why? Because they KNOW that they work.
11:58 June 7, 2011 by rise
@ sunnchilde

"Do you people ever want international buyers for your Gripen fighters?"

Besides Swedish Air Force's order of 204 Gripen fighters, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand are also using it. Even United Kingdom is using it (Empire Test Pilots' School).
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