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US embassy: 'Sweden no longer neutral'

TT/AFP/The Local · 2 Dec 2010, 07:24

Published: 02 Dec 2010 07:24 GMT+01:00

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Among the wealth of documents that the whistleblower website Wikileaks has exposed include several hundred from the US embassy in Stockholm, showing a close security arrangement with the US, according to the Svenska Daglbadet daily.

In a classified telegram from May 4th 2007, prior to prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's visit to the USA, the then US ambassador to Sweden, Michael Wood wrote that Sweden was a "pragmatic and strong" partner.

Wood added that even though the official line is non-alignment, Swedish participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace and role as leader of the EU's Nordic Battle Group show that the position is an untruth.

Then US president George W Bush is advised to discuss with Reinfeldt in private, if he wants to praise Sweden's role in the cooperation against terrorism, a formulation which is taken to meant that the ambassador did not believe that the extent of the cooperation is known across the government offices.

Wood furthermore wrote that information from Sweden's military and civil security services is an important source of information for the USA for Russian military conditions and for knowledge of Iran's nuclear programme.

According to further US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks this week, Sweden wanted Russian kicked out of the Council of Europe following the Georgian war in 2008.

"Sweden, as Chair of the Council of Europe, will seek to solicit support from other Council of Europe members against Russia and in the next few months will attempt to vote Russia out," an August 2008 cable from the US embassy in Stockholm read.

"This is still in the early planning stages, but is a current goal of (Foreign Minister) Bildt," the cable read.

"Current thinking is to use Sweden's chairmanship of the Council of Europe (until Nov. 2008) to mobilise support to kick Russia out of the Council of Europe," the note continued.

A spokesperson for Carl Bildt, who remains Sweden's foreign minister, refused

to comment on the cable when contacted by AFP.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt also refused to comment on the cable, telling the TT news agency that "I cannot judge this. I don't know what it (the cable) says or what Carl had in mind."

According to the document, Sweden, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, the Baltic states, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria wanted "a strong statement against Russian action."

Those countries disagreed with France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands,

Story continues below…

Malta and Cyprus, for whom the priority was to "stop the suffering and ensure

the ceasefire is respected."

Russian troops invaded a part of Georgia in August 2008 to push back Georgian forces who were seeking to retake control of breakaway region South Ossetia, and they still occupy 20 percent of Georgia's territory.

At the time, Bildt evoked Adolf Hitler in condemning Russia's attacks on Georgia over the breakaway region, saying the protection of Russians there did not justify the assault.

The conflict had chilled relations between Russia and NATO, and between Sweden and Russia.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:08 December 2, 2010 by marianne667
Sweden's so called neutrality has always been a joke. During the second world war we did everything to please the Germans until it became clear that they were losing then we switched to the allies. So these "revelation" does not surprise me at all.
14:27 December 2, 2010 by Syftfel
No longer neutral?? The problem is Sweden is not sufficiently close to the West. Sweden should take a much stronger stance against Russa, socialism, and 3rd World bullying, and jump head first in to the U.S. camp. So the fact that she is "no loonger neutral" must be viewed as a positive
15:25 December 2, 2010 by Nemesis
Sweden has not been neutral since it went to war with Russia and Poland.
18:35 December 2, 2010 by Bumblebeetuna
The neutrality position is quite hard for me to understand. I get the dream behind it but..........
19:02 December 2, 2010 by TwoToTango
Neutral in what? There isn't a major war going on and the cold war has been over for a long time.
20:05 December 2, 2010 by Kaethar
TwoToTango: This. We already know the Swedish government condemned actions by Russia and we know Sweden's involved in some NATO-led operations. That this means Sweden supports the US is simply the US ambassadors opinion. Sweden is not involved in any war and therefore can certainly claim to be neutral. Sweden's position in Afghanistan is as a peace force since they're a non-offensive force (that is, they won't shoot unless they're shot at first).
22:09 December 2, 2010 by Rebel
Sweden is not neurtral, it is just bland and without meaning and purpose. There is a difference you know.
23:40 December 2, 2010 by GLO
Sweden is a free country at least for a while, until it becomes a Muslum country 30-50 years.
00:29 December 3, 2010 by iona
Both the East and West can be considered international criminals. Sweden stay neutral.
06:37 December 3, 2010 by Russ Cobleigh
Sweden is in neutral, when it comes to creating new jobs!
19:13 December 3, 2010 by rise
"Sweden's position in Afghanistan is as a peace force since they're a non-offensive force (that is, they won't shoot unless they're shot at first)."

That is not true any more since now they're allowed to make the first shot.
20:34 December 3, 2010 by Toonie
Swedish neutrality was once used as a selling point by Swedish marketeers, perhaps still is. It was even helpful in selling arms to countries that clearly had 'no intention to use them'. The word was simply part of what every nation state does - uses language cleverly to justify whatever it needs to do.

We had a superb example of this recently in the UK. Gordon Brown wanted to institute an international ban on the deployment and use of cluster bombs. The British parliament was to consider the matter, except that the US has a considerable store of cluster bombs on UK soil and wanted to maintain this as an option. So there was a marvelously underhand operation whereby the US would be unofficially exempt from the UK ban, but without telling parliament that such an exception existed. All revealed by Wikileaks, of course. When asked to comment, a Foreign Office spokesperson condemned Wikileaks but not the attempt to hoodwink the British parliament.

So Sweden is neutral and the UK decries the use and deployment of cluster bombs - when it suits.
19:37 December 4, 2010 by Onivan
Whew! Why so much hostility toward Sweden?
21:35 December 4, 2010 by rise
"Whew! Why so much hostility toward Sweden?"

The Locals' news comments are often all about stamping on Sweden. Nothing to care about.
01:12 December 6, 2010 by OnessOfMankind
When the big bully is down, lots of western countries will be at ease and not filthy their hand in bloodshed by the BIG bully
00:37 December 7, 2010 by wenddiver
Moral Relatavism never works, eventually everbody has to chose between good and evil. Sweden grew up and chose to ight along with everybody else who believes in the good.

Great news.
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