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Danielsson given ambassador status

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15:17 CET+01:00
Foreign minister Carl Bildt has decided that controversial former State Secretary Lars Danielsson is to be given the rank of ambassador.

Danielsson previously held the rank of ambassador when he worked at the foreign ministry until 1994. He was later seconded to the Prime Minister's Office where he became Göran Persson's most senior aide.

Danielsson will receive the same wages as other Social Democratic politicians who have returned to the foreign ministry. He is to be placed at the office of the permanent undersecretary of state with ambassadorial status.

Carl Bildt told journalists at an EU committee meeting earlier today that he was not involved in the matter.

When asked whether he or cabinet secretary Frank Belfrage had given the undersecretary any directives ahead of her meeting with the trade union later in the day, Bildt replied: "Don't know".

A couple of hours later news agency TT received a phone call from the foreign ministry. The caller explained that frank Belfrage, "acting on Carl Bildt's instructions", had decided that Lars Danielsson would be placed with the undersecretary of state and given the title of ambassador.

The permanent undersecretary of state was to inform the trade union at the foreign ministry later on Friday afternoon.

"I am glad that the formalities have now been concluded. Now I will engage in dialogue with my employer about what the job will entail," said Danielsson.

Since becoming foreign minister, Carl Bildt has publicly stated that he wanted to find out if there was any way Danielsson could be removed from his job.

He also said that the criticism levelled at Danielsson by the justice ombudsman has undermined his chances of receiving an ambassador's post.

But Bildt has also told journalists that he is not involved in the matter of Danielsson's wages and conditions.

To confuse matters further, employees at the foreign ministry have said that the decision not to pay Danielsson's wages came from above.

And as late as Friday morning Bildt gave the impression hat he was not in any way involved despite giving Fredrik Belfrage the task of deciding on Danielsson's future.

"He seems schizophrenic," said a foreign ministry civil servant who wished to remain anonymous.

Bildt's attempts to get rid of Danielsson has clearly failed. Not only is he still at the foreign ministry, he has now been given the title of ambassador.

Up until now, all that Danielsson had at the foreign ministry was a room. He had no work to do and wasn't receiving any wages.

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