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Swedes disagree over Libyan refugees

Published fredag 25 februari 2011 kl 14.36
Evacuees from Libya arrving in Malta.

As the violence continues in Libya between the growing opposition and the defenders of the Gadaffi regime, Swedes here continue to discuss what can be done, what to do with refugees from Libya and how to help Swedes wanting to leave that turbulent North African nation.

Swedish diplomat Hans Corell who is a former United Nations legal advisor says the UN Security Council can sanction a humanitarian intervention to stop the killing of civilians in Libya.

Speaking with Swedish Radio News, he adds that the UN general assembly has approved such action to stop war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The Swede maintains that Gadaffi is clearly committing crimes against humanity – fulfilling the conditions set for the world body action.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has refused to commit himself on whether the Swedish government would approve such humanitarian action – claiming that right now the priority is to evacuate Swedes from Libya.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has chartered places on an Italian plane leaving from  Tripoli with Swedes on board.

The ministry recommends that all Swedes at the airport who haven’t been able to board that  Italian plane to wait at the airport for another flight – and not return to the city because of the lack of security on the streets of Tripoli.

Speaking with Swedish Radio News, Joakim Larsson of the ministry’s press office says they have been informed that at least 10 Swedes are insisting on remaining in Libya, but that the ministry is urging even these Swedes to leave because of the continuing violence:

The Swedish Foreign Ministry has also opened telephone lines for those relatives in Sweden trying to get information about family members in Libya.

Commenting on the European Union’s meeting of migration ministers in Brussels,  Sweden’s most prestigious newspaper Dagens Nyheter says in an editorial that it its regrettable that the Swedish minister at the meeting shrugged off Italy’s fears of a possible giant wave of refugees coming from Libya and his insisting that Sweden has no responsibility for whatever happens.

The editorial argues that Sweden and all EU members have a joint border with the rest of the world.  It also criticizes Sweden’s European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in charge of refugee questions for having signed the EU agreement with the Kadaffi regime – even if she said that this was the only way to try to help refugees in Libya.

The editorial concludes that even if the agreement never went into affect, it was a kind of recognition of the tyrant Gadaffi as a border guard for the EU.

Therefore, all the more reason for Sweden to accept a joint EU responsibility for dealing with Libyan refugees.

The editorial cartoon shows Sweden as a well-dressed head waiter at a fancy restaurant, looking over his candles at a boat filled with refugees, lifting his nose and snobbishly concluding:  “Libya…?  Unfortunately we have no reservations under that name.”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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