Reinfeldt and Bush in climate talks

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has been discussing climate change and energy policy with President George W Bush at the White House, in the high-point of his visit to the United States.

Reinfeldt arrived at the White House at 10am local time, and went directly in to talks with Bush. While climate and energy questions were at the top of the agenda, other subjects including Afghanistan, Darfur and Swedish-American trade links were raised.

At a press conference in the Oval Office after one hour of talks, President Bush said he was grateful to Reinfeldt for making climate change the central subject of the meeting.

“The Prime Minister made this a center point of our conversation, and I fully appreciate and understand why. I appreciate the leadership you’ve taken on this important issue, not only in your country, but at the EU, as well. It’s noticeable to me here in the United States, and I congratulate you for being the strong leader that you are,” Bush said.

Reinfeldt afterwards expressed satisfaction with the meeting.

“It was a very good conversation and centred very much on climate change. I explained the Swedish efforts and he explained the American. In just the past few days they have taken initiatives to reduce emissions from vehicles and to increase energy efficiency,” he told journalists.

Other questions included the Doha round of trade talks, which are currently at a sensitive stage. Bush said he was optimistic that they would succeed.

The Iraq war was also discussed. Reinfeldt said he did not raise the issue of the large number of Iraqi refugees coming to Sweden, despite having previously promised to broach the subject. Reinfeldt refused to criticize the United States on any issue, although expressed admiration for President Bush’s personal qualities.

“One is struck by his enormous presence and wide knowledge. He is also a very jovial person, who jokes and is relaxed. One feels the force of his leadership,” the prime minister said.

Following the meeting, US Ambassador to Sweden Michael Wood stressed the success of talks on climate change.

“They had a particularly good discussion of climate change and how a post-2012 international agreement might look. ”

“We expect that some time this summer we will be able to sign several alternative energy agreements between the U.S. and Sweden,” he added.