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Sweden 'weakened' EU sanctions against Syria

Sweden 'weakened' EU sanctions against Syria

Published: 03 Dec 2011 16:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Dec 2011 16:18 GMT+01:00

Sweden stepped on the brakes, stopping the EU from imposing sanctions against two telecom companies active in Syria. Both do business with Swedish telecom giant Ericsson.

The decision has come in for some heavy criticism from several players.

"Sweden has long had a very good reputation when it comes to human rights, but the current government is undermining this in one issue after another," said MP Bodil Ceballos of the Green Party (Miljöpartiet) to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

On Thursday evening EU's foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions against Syria, which apply to 11 companies whose technology can be used to track and supervise regime critics.

But Sweden stopped two further companies, state-owned STE and South Africa-based MTN, from being added to the blacklist, reported national television channel SVT.

Several EU diplomats told SVT that Sweden's actions could be traced to the "Ericsson factor", in other words that Swedish Ericsson is supplying Syria with technology that enables tracking of the regime's opposition through mobile phones.

According to Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt, however, Sweden's decision is in fact an attempt to aid the opposition.

"In the case of Syria, mobile phones and their cameras are one of the opposition's strongest weapons," he wrote on his blog on Friday.

"Without them we wouldn't find out very much about the brutal violence used by the regime," wrote Bildt.

Clara Guibourg (clarabara@hotmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

17:07 December 3, 2011 by senlac
I beleve that should "weakened"
17:33 December 3, 2011 by skumdum
be or not to beleve
20:07 December 3, 2011 by gogo99
The Swedish hypocrisy at its best. If it was for ex. - Israel, the Swedes would have come up with a different arguments.
20:36 December 3, 2011 by motti
@ gogo99. You are correct of course. Could you imagine the absolute uproar if Israel had slaughtered more than 4000 civilians, and the murder was still continuing?

I note the absolute silence from our pro Arab and Moslem friends who are so quick to criticise Israel and make outlandish malicious allegations without any fact or truth.

Xexon, Iraniboy etc etc, where are you? Where are your explanations? Where are your accusations? No doubt you may claim that Israel is behind it all! Loike any person with decency, I feel for those who have brutally murdered, raped, tortured and imprisoned, just because they want democracy. Sadly, if Egypt, Tunisia and the other Arab countries are anything to go by, Democracy will still be a dream. Why? Because the Islamic Brotherhood are not known for their desire of democracy.
21:01 December 3, 2011 by elleno
Just like in WWII when they Swedes sold equipment to the Germans.

A thoroughly rotten bunch of people with not a shred of morality in their blood. I hope the Arabs soon overrun them (they are well on the way) and get rid of these disgusting hypocrites forever.

Enough is enough. We are sick of being preached to by hypocrites with a population like a normal sized town in the real world.
21:36 December 3, 2011 by sgt_doom
One prays Bildt is finally telling the truth about something?

Unlike when he was a director at Lundin Petroleum, and those massacres took place in Sudan to remove those people living on the oil-rich land they wished to plunder.

Yes, we hope Carl Bildt is telling the truth about something......

http://markcrispinmiller.com/2011/02/eight-big-problems-with-the-case-against-assange-must-read-by-naomi-wolf/
22:39 December 3, 2011 by riose
@elleno ...and like the Americans...or anyone else that got a chance.

All the concentration camps used IBM technology - google Hollerith.
04:17 December 4, 2011 by repat_xpat
@ riose,

I didn't see a reference to America in elleno's post. Could the "American" issue be your personal issue and not related to this topic or elleno?

BTW: I'm not necessarily supporting elleno's post. I only question the constant mud throwing at America.
09:10 December 4, 2011 by Abe L
Makes perfect sense, anything to protect your own economy and try to make it stronger.
12:38 December 4, 2011 by riose
@repat_xpat

It was an example. Ellipsis means unfinished thought, so please continue reading to "...or anyone else that got a chance." Even Russia did business with the Nazi.

I have no problems with the USA, and personally, I love all the Americans I have met. I don't like their foreign policies, sanitary system, or excessive consumerism, but overall, my impression of the USA is positive.
13:08 December 4, 2011 by Summer Dreams
yep! business is never personal
14:16 December 4, 2011 by Migga
@ elleno

Nice way of blaming an entire population on the acts of the politicans. Sweden traded with both the axis and allies during The Second World War. But you wouldn`t know because yoou are blinded by your hate towards Swedes.
19:09 December 4, 2011 by strixy
There is aword or this: hypocrisy.
19:32 December 4, 2011 by shahislam
The server of war toys and the inviting party consist of a few street level bullying guys supported by idiot portion of the public.

Great guys behind leaderships like current USA, France, Sweden, Norway, Canada etc. cannot really have connections with use of barbarian style killing machines against or in favor of any of the hot tempered groups of bullying people of the same Semitic origin.who do not have wise enough philosophical views to live their 'one time real life' happily on earth in possible most unselfish and peaceful ways. It's time for commencing the truly humanitarian movement to be an united not divided "One world under One absolutely honest UN power".

Shahislam
21:13 December 4, 2011 by motti
Shahislam, sadly, one world under one absolutelt honest UN power will never happen. People are, thankfully different, and are not all the same. That is not to say that are better or worse than others, just we are different. The problem is the word HONEST. Nice thought though.

If you mean everyone should be Moslem, no thank you, anymore than everyone should be Jewish, Christian, Hindu or anything else.
03:33 December 5, 2011 by Kaethar
What a ridiculous sensationalist headline. You said so yourself - telecom giant. Ericsson is world-leading in telecommunications. That Ericsson has deals with the now un-banned television stations is hardly surprising.

The reason Carl Bildt gives makes perfect sense. Sanctions on communications WOULD hurt the protestors as opposed to the government. Sweden was one of the first countries to criticize the Syrian regime and is hardly going to support them.

But I guess people enjoy trying to smear Sweden (probably because of the Assange campaign) but that doesn't excuse this lack of journalistic integrity. The Local is becoming more like a tabloid every day.
09:27 December 5, 2011 by Robert69
Ericsson needs to make its profits while more refugees come to Sweden from Syria.
11:15 December 6, 2011 by motti
Every country traded with Nazi Germany prior to and some during WWII.

Many private and state own organisations traded with Germany and profiteered by their ventures. I know the Norwegians, understandabl, can be angry with Sweden, but even Fred Olsen, Storebrand, Den norske Creditbank made huge profits as did the French Railway system.

S'funny that the pro Arab/Moslems have still not answered my challenge to comment on the deaths of more than 4000 people in Syria, with who knows how many tortured, raped, wounded. I am certain they read this column. Perhaps next time they decide to carry out their usual Jew hating outbursts, they will need to be reminded of their silence.
12:54 December 14, 2011 by Uriel9
#5 elleno You hate swedes because of this and trading with germany (under threat btw) 60 years ago. If you are a fair person that condemn peoples equally depending on the bad things they've done now and in history, you must then hate basically every people on this planet. Or you're just Biased. I think you're just Biased, as most people commenting here.
08:49 December 22, 2011 by shahislam
For Assad it is a do or die situation, so uprising is bound to continue and will spread further. Any violent policy is no longer to go unnoticed by increasing interconnected global public.
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