Swedish soldiers to join Nato response force
15 Oct 2013, 09:27
Published: 15 Oct 2013 09:27 GMT+02:00
The approval came on Monday courtesy of the North Atlantic Council, the highest political body of Nato, and will see Swedish soldiers heading to eastern Europe in November.
"I welcome Sweden's participation, alongside that of Finland and Ukraine. Our relationship is already strong, and this will make it even stronger," Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.
The training is designed to test and certify the NRF, which is Nato's rapid-reaction formation, working on defending member nations against an attack and forming a unit that could be deployed anywhere in the world.
"The Nato Response Force is the spearhead of this Alliance: a rapid-reaction group able to defend any Ally, deploy anywhere, and deal with any threat. Exercise Steadfast Jazz will make sure that the spearhead is sharp, and ready to use," Fogh Rasmussen added.
The news was welcomed by Sweden's Defence Minister Karin Enström.
"The important thing is that we get access to the advanced training exercises that get carried out within the NRF frameworks by being accepted as participants," Enström told the TT news agency.
"And this is important to maintain and develop our defence capabilities."
Sweden offered forces, including aircraft, ships and land forces, to the next four rotations of the NRF, and becomes the fourth partner to join the force following Finland, Ukraine, and Georgia.