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Sweden ready to join NATO anti-terror force

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09:45 CET+01:00
Sweden's military has set aside resources to allow the country to take part in a NATO-led anti-terror force in the Mediterranean later this year, according to Swedish Radio.

The Swedish contribution to the force has been accounted for in the military's budget despite the fact that no decision has yet been taken at a political level about Sweden's involvement.

Sweden's possible involvement in the NATO operation, Active Endeavour, is seen as particularly controversial as it was launched as a direct response to the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001.

According to NATO, Active Endeavour's mission includes "actions aimed at preventing or countering terrorism coming from or conducted at sea and all illegality possibly connected with terrorism, such as human trafficking and smuggling of arms and radioactive substances".

The operation was launched in the Eastern Mediterranean in October 2001 and then extended to monitor sea traffic, using ships, aircraft and submarines, in the whole of the Mediterranean in March 2004.

The Swedish government's official line is that it is still weighing up the factors involved in participation. However, the military has budgeted 80 million kronor for a contribution in 2007.

The Green Party's member of the parliamentary defence committee, Annika Nordgren-Christensen, said that such a move would be tantamount to actively joining America's war on terror.

She said that a political decision to send a Swedish warship to the NATO operation could be ushered in through the back door of the spring budget.

"It's just good manners and good government practice to ensure that issues like this aren't stuck in a supplementary budget without wider exposure," she told Swedish Radio.

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