NATO Welcomes Swedish Participation

Visiting Sweden, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that Sweden is one of NATO’s most important partners and is welcome as a member in the rapid reaction force, should Sweden decide to join.

On Friday Morning, NATO’s Secretary General met Sweden’s Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, one of the two places where Swedish troops come under NATO command as part of the ISAF force.  They also discussed possible participation in NATO’s rapid reaction force (NRF), with Sweden saying a decision may be reached by the spring.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also promised to develop the sharing of information between Sweden and other non-NATO states - a development Sweden has long been behind.  But Jaap de Hoop Scheffer did add that there will always be a difference between NATO members and non-members.  Sweden’s stance is that as long as countries share risks, information must also be shared.

During his Stockholm visit, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also met Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.