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Sweden one step closer to getting a US ambassador – after more than two years

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Sweden one step closer to getting a US ambassador – after more than two years
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and US President Donald Trump met in the White House last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
08:03 CEST+02:00
The Swedish foreign ministry has said it looks forward to eventually welcoming a new US ambassador to Stockholm after 28 months without anyone in the spot.

The role has been empty since January 2017 when President Donald Trump took office. It's already made the history books: not in the last century has Sweden gone this long without a US ambassador.

Seven months ago, Trump nominated Ken Howery – an entrepreneur and venture capitalist from Texas, who co-founded Paypal with Elon Musk – for the role, as The Local reported at the time.

Howery's appointment is not yet official though, as he must first be approved by the US Senate.

In a speech to the US Senate at his nomination hearing last week, Howery highlighted the long-standing relationship between his country and Sweden, one of the first countries to formally recognize the US.

"If confirmed, I will devote myself to deepening that legacy, emphasizing economic and security partnerships. American-Swedish trade already encompasses everything from medicines and machine parts to clothing and furniture; you can find iPhones in H&M pockets, and Ikea desks in American homes," he said, also highlighting Sweden's role in the tech and startup industries.

Howery will now need to be confirmed in a final vote in the Senate, for which a date has not been set, but Swedish public broadcaster SVT reports he could start after the summer if the process runs smoothly.

"We have no opinion on the process for appointing an American ambassador to Sweden. However, we do look forward to welcoming the next ambassador when they have been confirmed by the US Congress," Rasmus Eljanskog, a spokesperson for the Swedish foreign ministry, told SVT.

In the meantime, the US embassy in Stockholm has been run by a series of three chargés d'affairs.

"Cooperation with the chargé has worked well and the lack of an ambassador has had no practical consequences for the contact between the embassy and the government office," said Eljanskog.

Sweden went almost nine months without an ambassador in 2015, after Barack Obama's nominee Azita Raji was held up by political wrangling in the US Senate.

Vocabulary

United States – Förenta staterna (although Swedes usually say USA, pronounced roughly ooh-ess-aah)

ambassador – ambassadör

embassy – ambassad

partnership – partnerskap

vote – omröstning

We're aiming to help our readers improve their Swedish by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. This article instead includes a special edition of Swedish words associated with property. Did you find it useful? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know.

 
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