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Danielsson 'frozen out' by Bildt

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15:44 CET+01:00
Göran Persson's closest foreign policy advisor, Lars Danielsson, is being frozen out by Sweden's news foreign minister, Carl Bildt.

According to reports, Danielsson has been given no duties, is receiving no wages and is therefore not entitled to take advantage of the ministry's life insurance policy.

Danielsson moved back to the foreign ministry after the new government was elected in September. Danielsson had originally been a civil servant at the ministry, holding the rank of ambassador, but had been seconded to the Prime Minister's Office under Göran Persson.

"I don't want to talk about this in public, and I am dealing with this internally," he said.

Unions were more forthcoming, however.

"We think it's a waste of capacity not to use someone with the competence of Lars Danielsson," said union representative Åke Isaksson.

Danielsson became a controversial figure due to his role in the government's handling of the 2004 Asian tsunami. Danielsson was accused of lying to the commission investigating Sweden's response to the disaster, in which 500 people lied. He was criticised by the Justice Ombudsman for impeding the commission's work.

Expressen and Dagens Nyheter cite sources from within the foreign ministry saying that foreign minister Carl Bildt is behind the fact that Danielsson has no work to do and no salary.

Bildt said in a radio interview two weeks ago that Danielsson had lied about his actions during the disaster. He added that the Justice Ombudsman's uniquely stinging criticism would do Danielsson no favours when his applications for ambassadorial posts were being considered.

Danielsson is currently living on his redundancy pay, which he can continue to draw for two years following the change of government. The pay does not give him pension contributions or life insurance premiums, however.

"It is very strange that they haven't made a decision about his salary. We can't explain it," said Åke Isaksson.

Carl Bildt's press secretary Christian Carlsson could not say why the decision on Danielsson's duties and wage was taking so long. He told news agency TT that he would reply to questions when Carl Bildt returns from an EU meeting on in Brussels on Wednesday.

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