• Sweden's news in English

Swedish party leaders united on cartoon crisis

The Local · 6 Feb 2006, 19:39

Published: 06 Feb 2006 19:39 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On Monday afternoon, foreign minister Laila Freivalds informed the leaders of Sweden's other political parties of the current situation.

"For once, the Swedish parties are very much in agreement. We want the best possible relationship with the Muslim world," said the leader of the Liberals Lars Leijonborg.

Party leaders underlined the importance of separating freedom of expression, which the state will not involve itself in, and the cartoons, from which the leaders distanced themselves.

The leader of the Moderates, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said that they could perhaps be seen as agitation against a minority group. Leijonborg reminded reporters that he ripped up a xenophobic Danish publication on television.

"It is the dilemma of democracy that even those who want to say stupid things have the right to say them," he said.

Nobody at the meeting expressed any criticism of the foreign ministry's reaction to the crisis. The Christian Democrats' Göran Hägglund said he was satisfied that the government had consulted Sweden's Muslim Council.

Security at Swedish embassies around the world has been increased. Laila Freivalds said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had had telephone contact with around 20 Swedish missions.

"In summary, you could say that it's calm in most places, but they still need to observe great caution. It could be a false calm," said Freivalds.

The foreign minister added that she did not believe Denmark felt betrayed by the EU and the US.

"It is incredibly important to be clear that we will not accept attacks on Danish and Swedish embassies, and to be clear about what freedom of speech means," she said.

"By being clear about this, we help Denmark."

According to foreign ministry sources, diplomacy is the Swedish approach. The ministry does not want a major EU statement on the issue, as it would risk creating a new confrontation.

Sweden believes that the EU countries ought to encourage the international diplomatic corps in the affected countries to demand that their hosts improve security around the embassies.

In a press statement, the chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Michael Treschow, said that it is unfortunate that Swedish companies are being affected in the Middle East.

Story continues below…

Charter companies Ving and Fritidsresor said they are following events but neither of them have destinations in Syria or Lebanon - where the foreign ministry is now advising Swedes to avoid.

Apollo has, however, cancelled flights from Copenhagen to Egypt. Around 100 Swedes are affected and all customers will be offered trips to Gran Canaria instead.

Apollo has also cancelled excursions to Jerusalem for visitors to Israel.

"We did that on Friday since the foreign ministry recommended that people should not travel to the West Bank, which our tours partly go through," said Apollo's head of information, Kajsa Moström.

TT/The Local

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available