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MP vows to sink budget if Sweden drops Turkey weapons ban

The Swedish independent MP Amineh Kakabaveh has said she will vote down the government's amendment budget next week if it does not commit to maintaining its ban on selling weapons to Turkey.

MP vows to sink budget if Sweden drops Turkey weapons ban
Amineh Kakabaveh takes part in a foreign policy debate in the Swedish parliament on June 10th. Photo: Christine Olsson / TT

Kakabaveh, who resigned from the Left Party in 2019, how holds the decisive vote in Sweden’s parliament, and she has been using the leverage this gives her to extract pledges from the government to support the Kurdish autonomous government in northern Syria. 

Turkey’s demand that Sweden ends its weapons ban is one of its key conditions to back Sweden’s bid for Nato membership, so ceding to Kakabaveh’s demand threatens to freeze the country’s Nato talks.  

Kakabaveh told Sweden’s TT newswire that if she did not use her position for the good of the Kurds, it would be tantamount to helping Turkey in its attacks. 

“It would be as if I was sending weapons there which are used against the Kurds,” she said. 

READ ALSO: What’s going on with pensions and Sweden’s budget? 

Sweden’s government hopes to submit an additional amendment budget to parliament next week which, if it wins Kakabaveh’s support, would allow it to pass its budget and honour a deal struck in November with the Left Party to hike monthly payments for the poorest pensioners. 

When Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg came to Sweden on Monday, he singled out dropping the arms ban as one of the “important steps” Sweden was making to overcome Turkey’s objections. 

“I welcome that Sweden has already started to change its counter-terrorism legislation and that Sweden will ensure that the legal framework for arms export will reflect the future status as a Nato member with new commitments to allies,” he said. 

Kakabaveh has now used her position to extract concessions four times: once last July, when parliament voted on whether  to return Stefan Löfven as prime minister, once in November, when Magdalena Andersson was elected PM, once in the run-up to the no-confidence vote in Sweden’s justice minister on June 7th, and now in the run-up to next week’s additional amendment budget vote. 

Sweden’s party system means that unless she finds a party willing to have her as a candidate, she will cease to be an MP after September’s election. 

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US Senate ratifies Sweden’s entry to Nato

The US Senate ratified the entry of Sweden and Finland into Nato Wednesday, strongly backing the expansion of the transatlantic alliance in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

US Senate ratifies Sweden's entry to Nato

The Senate voted 95 to 1 in favour of the two Nordic countries’ accession, making the United States the 23rd of the 30 Nato countries to formally endorse it so far, after Italy approved it earlier Wednesday and France on Tuesday. President Joe Biden hailed the Senate’s quick ratification process — the fastest since 1981.

“This historic vote sends an important signal of the sustained, bipartisan US commitment to Nato, and to ensuring our Alliance is prepared to meet the
challenges of today and tomorrow,” Biden said in a statement.

The sole opponent was Republican Josh Hawley, who agreed that the United States should focus on protecting its homeland, but that Washington should concentrate on the challenge from China rather than Europe.

One senator, Republican Rand Paul, voted “present” rather than endorsing or opposing the motion. Senate leader Chuck Schumer said it was a signal of Western unity after Moscow launched a war on Ukraine on February 24.

“This is important substantively and as a signal to Russia: they cannot intimidate America or Europe,” Schumer said. “Putin has tried to use his war in Ukraine to divide the West. Instead, today’s vote shows our alliance is stronger than ever.” 

All 30 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation must agree if Finland and Sweden, officially non-aligned but longtime adjunct partners of
the alliance, are admitted. According to a Nato list, seven member countries have yet to formally agree to the new double-entry: the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey.

Only Turkey has raised a challenge, demanding certain concessions from Finland and Sweden to back their memberships.

Ankara has demanded the extradition of dozens of government opponents it labels “terrorists” from both countries in exchange for its support.

Turkey said on July 21 that a special committee would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with
its conditions.

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