Historic defence pact paves way for US forces to operate in Sweden

AFP/The Local
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Historic defence pact paves way for US forces to operate in Sweden
United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with his Swedish counterpart Pål Jonson during a Nato meeting in Brussels in October. Photo: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Sweden and the United States have signed a first-ever defence cooperation agreement to permit bilateral exercises and strengthen military ties even before the Scandinavian country joins Nato.


US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin signed the agreement with Swedish Defence Minister Pål Jonson, the Pentagon said.

The defence pact paves the way for "US forces to operate in Sweden, including the legal status of US military personnel, access to deployment areas (and) prepositioning of military materiel", a Pentagon statement said.

The two "agreed on the importance of continued robust support to Ukraine in the face of Russia's illegal and full-scale invasion", it added.

Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine spooked long-neutral Finland and Sweden, and both nations applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


Finland acceded to the defence alliance in April, while Sweden awaits approval from treaty members Turkey and Hungary.

The new US-Sweden defence pact "will apply seamlessly before and after Sweden's accession" to Nato, a State Department statement said, adding that Sweden "is a strong, capable defence partner that champions Nato's values".


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