Sweden's new foreign minister settles in

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Sweden's new foreign minister settles in

Jan Eliasson has begun work as Sweden's new Foreign Minister. Eliasson, 65, was appointed on March 27th as Ministry of Foreign Affairs head by Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson following the resignation of former Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds.


The widely experienced and much-respected diplomat and politician has since his appointment been preoccupied with his duties as President of the United Nations General Assembly.

On Monday, he officially began work at Sweden's Foreign Ministry.

With experience at the UN and as a former Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative, including a recent post as Swedish Ambassador to the US, Eliasson was regarded as a solid choice to succeed Freivalds.

Freivalds left the Ministry amid uproar over her handling of the 2004 Tsunami and recent 'Mohammed cartoon' crises.

As Foreign Minister, the governing Social Democrats hope Eliasson will utilise his network of international contacts and restore stability to the Foreign Ministry.

"I have had 40 good years, and now I want to function as a catalyst for change," he stated.

Such measures could be critical in this election year, as Social Democrats slightly trail the opposition in many polls.

Eliasson's first trip as Foreign Minister will be to Finland.

He will travel across the Baltic Sea on Friday to meet with his counterpart Erkki Tuomioja and Finnish President Tarja Halonen.

Items on the agenda for the visit include discussing Russo-Finnish relations and the future of the European Union.


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