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Bildt's silence on WikiLeak fuels criticism

TT/The Local/vt · 23 Jan 2011, 20:17

Published: 23 Jan 2011 20:17 GMT+01:00

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Separately, political scientists have observed that the ministers were caught by surprise with the revelations.

The fallout from Bildt and Billström's refusal to answer questions about the documents released on Friday have persisted throughout the weekend as the pair maintained their silence.

The leak pertained to comments made by Bildt and Billström at a meet with the then-US ambassador to Iraq in 2007. On Friday, neither Bildt nor Billström commented on the documents on the grounds that they do not discuss anything related to WikiLeaks.

Billström broke his silence in a statement on Saturday evening, writing, "I have not said anything to the American embassy in Baghdad on Swedish asylum policy than what I have said publicly in Sweden. However, I have no views on what the American embassy staff wrote in their reports."

According to documents from WikiLeaks, at the meeting, Bildt allegedly said that he wanted an agreement with Iraq on the repatriation of Iraqis who were not granted residence permits in Sweden. With the agreement, there would be no way to establish a Swedish embassy in Baghdad, according to Bildt.

The two ministers were also reported as mentioning that several honour killings in Sweden had resulted in the Swedes calling for a tougher refugee policy.

Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin was extremely critical of what Bildt and Billström's alleged comments at the meeting.

"I am usually cautious about using words such as disgraceful, but this is a scandal," she told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet's (SvD) online edition on Saturday.

Sahlin also found it remarkable that Bildt and Billström chose not to comment on the documents and said that the ministers "must sort out what it is."

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Green Party spokesman candidate Gustav Fridolin was also critical of the ministers, while the Liberal Party's youth wing has called for Billström to resign.

Marie Demker, a professor of political science at Göteborg University, noted that the politicians must used to the situation that currently prevails.

"Our elected officials must realise that leaks as those from WikiLeaks have become the norm. They [Bildt and Billström] seem a bit taken by surprise. It appears as if they did not really prepare for this," she said.

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

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Your comments about this article

20:52 January 23, 2011 by Strongbow
What doesn't fuel sharp criticism from Mona?
21:30 January 23, 2011 by Zala Russe
Shock! Horror! Opposition politician has audacity to criticise Government.

This is only a foretaste of what is to come, as long as Sweden jumps around like a muppet with the US hand up its *ss, pursuing the vendetta against Assange and Wikileaks.
21:43 January 23, 2011 by Larry Thrash
What's the big deal here? I see nothing shocking or usual about his comments, if he made them. He is putting Swedes and Sweden first. I would hope that is what he is in power to do. In today's world patriots are bad, self hating Swedes are good?
22:20 January 23, 2011 by Uncle
Mona Sahlin is the sole reason for her party to slowly dissappear. She is already a thing of the past and is sitting every evening on Monster.se. She used tax money for personal benefits. She is not a person that should be listened to or written articles about.

She threw a shadow over her party and she still does it. She is an emberassement that was bigger than any other embarassement in Sweden over its entire post war history.
23:28 January 23, 2011 by GLO
Why do Leaders fail to represent the best interest of the people. Do your best and tell everyone to shove it.

Strong Leaders are needed.
23:28 January 23, 2011 by kcussmilsum
Hey folks, get ready for the sh*tstorm.

Finally, the Swedish government is awake to the serious threats of their weak immigration policy. The day of the Religion of Peace asylum seekers is over, and the ones still here are on there way out. Sweden has found courage and backbone!

Welcome Vikings : )
02:35 January 24, 2011 by wenddiver
Why does the press insist on calling the murder of their own Family members by the death cult known as Islam, Honor Killings? A more accurate list of names would be:

1. Family Murders by Muslims

2. Infantcide by Muslims

3. Muslim Civil Right Violation Murders

4. Muslim Intimidation Murders

5. Prevention of Modernation Murders by Muslims

6. Sensceless Murders of Family Members who reject Islam

Calling them Honor killings is a stain on all Honarable Men and Women and Makes it sound like Military Officers and others who live by codes of Honor did it. Call these horrible crimes what they are and eject the perpatrators from the West.
04:15 January 24, 2011 by muscle
exactly WHERE did Islam or any other religion was mentioned???? stop being jerks and stop hating people of different faiths. Just remember everything is political in this world. You hate someone today, tomorrow when you need the support of this very person you claim you have love for them. I hate to see this ever changing political attitude of the world. It has nothing to do people coming from any specific race or religions!

today you respect US because it's a world power. Tomorrow if the same world power becomes dirt you will start looking at other powers!
08:34 January 24, 2011 by Keith #5083
a storm in an eggcup!

Moana is on a loser here - the ability of a politician/diplomatic to NOT comment is one of the reasons they are chosen for the job!
08:45 January 24, 2011 by CarlBlack
Maybe it's time to realize that Sahlin and Fridolin are leftwing extremist as well as Swedish democrats are rightwing extremists, and call them like that. They have really become radicalized, unable to understand reasonable opponent's opinions.
09:12 January 24, 2011 by wenddiver
@Muscle-The two ministers were also reported as mentioning that several honour killings in Sweden had resulted in the Swedes calling for a tougher refugee policy.

Sounds to me like somebody was discussing an alleged religion.

As to your comment about the US, if the US was no longer a world Power, I think we all hope somebody else in the West will step up and pay the Price in lives and wealth to defend the Western Democracies like the US, Canada, Australia and Great Britain/the Common Wealth did so ably in the 20th Century. The fate of Democracy and Freedom world wide is dependent on it. I of course do not share your assaesment of the current balance of power in the World, most of the Weapon Systems that are so terrible they might replace Nukes seem to be developing in America.
10:19 January 24, 2011 by big5
The funny thing is that Bildt and Billström have probably just gotten a big boost in popularity among ordinary Swedes. It's mainly among the sheltered Stockholm media and political elite that speaking the truth is considered scandalous.
12:23 January 24, 2011 by calebian22
Big5 nailed it.
12:30 January 24, 2011 by Puffin
Billsröm as hilarious on the news the other nights - a deer caught in the headlights and babbling incoherenly trying to neither confirm or deny what he said :-)
12:39 January 24, 2011 by Lars J
These comments by Bildt and Billström are nothing special. I really don't understand how this could topple the huge news about Sweden's close cooperation with NATO. Wikileaks has totally exposed the double speak of the Swedish government when it comes to NATO. And all the newspapers write about is this refugee related non-issue.
12:41 January 24, 2011 by big5
@ Puffin: I didn't think Billström was hilarious. It was the reporter who made an idiot of herself by insisting on repeating the same question 50 million times when she'd already been told it wouldn't be answered.
13:47 January 24, 2011 by Uncle
"exactly WHERE did Islam or any other religion was mentioned???? stop being jerks and stop hating people of different faiths."

Yep. A real mystery... There are so many religions representatives that kill women for having a boyfriend in Sweden. Of course the famous religion of Papua-New Guinea, lost tribes from Central African Republic and who could forget hundreds of honour killings by those who follow the Roman Gods!!!

Also, when suicide bombings, gay hanging, women stoning and converts execution are mentioned, it is absolutely not apparent what religion is talked about.
16:41 January 24, 2011 by jimmy1988
Everyone is on Wikileaks today.
21:01 January 24, 2011 by krattan
@Lars J

Because the NATO thing can't be used by the Social Democrats as an political baseball bat to strike at the present government. It's their propaganda, so to speak, we're reading in the news.

The NATO cooperation has actually been known to anyone interested in military history and the cold war. The extensive Swedish defense system during the time were supposed to work as a slowdown for the soviet invasion. The calculation was that Sweden should be able to hold the fort for 2 weeks which would enable NATO to fly in reinforcements to airbases Sweden had placed all over the country. The Norwegian naval bases to the Atlantic was considered of great strategic importance if the cold war would have become hot Sweden would work as the buffer zone.

Today all our military equipment is designed to work with NATO standard.
23:11 January 24, 2011 by Uncle
Today representatives of some peaceful religion proved once again in a Moscow airport that there is no reason whatsoever to prevent them coming in millions into Europe.

But shhhh... it is a secret... neither we, nor any politician should even talk about it, otherwise there is a high risk to angry Mona Sahlin... Even mentioning this may lead to accusations of racism. It is better not even express condolences to the Russians, otherwise this may insult the followers of the religion of love and peace...
00:22 January 25, 2011 by jimfromcanada
It is not surprising at all that Sweden would strategically decide to have interoperability with NATO. You always have to assess the surrounding nations. Who do you have the most in common with. Who possibly would want to intimidate you. What is possible considering your resources. Who are your potential allies. These considerations are what led the military planners and the political leadership to the decisions they have made.
09:43 January 25, 2011 by Ravioli
@ Uncle- You weren't kidding! I tried to put up a thread on the 'discuss' board asking if any Swedes had been killed or injured in the errrr......thing that happened in Moscow yesterday and boom! Gone in less than 5 minutes.
13:12 January 25, 2011 by big5
"krattan" makes a great point in post #18 above.
18:12 January 25, 2011 by Uncle
Ravioli, not surprising... Media would not like to insult the most loving and generous people with some provocative discussions.

God forbid for us to say out loud concerns over their mmm.. expression of disagreements, since then our muslim brothers may get slightly depressed.

Their depression and feelings of loneliness may be channeled into cutting off heads and explosions in kindergartens (totally deserved by us - the ungrateful racists, may I add)...

At least our left wing politicians are wise enough to point out our lack of tolerance and show us some ways of improvement.
23:00 January 25, 2011 by technoviking
What world do we live in where asking for higher immigration standards is called a "disgrace"?

Why does questioning the wisdom of open borders and the absolute tolerance of what is essentially a cultural invasion and the raping of the generous Swedish social system warrant extreme criticism?

The Left has clearly indicated that they have no standards and no limits in what they will "tolerate". Someone has to draw some sort of line in the sand and thankfully Mr. Bildt is trying...
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