Sverker Åström obituary

Iconic Swedish diplomat dies

The Swedish diplomat Sverker Åström has died at the age of 96, reports news agency TT.

Åström served as an ambassador to the UN during the 1960s. He was also Sweden's ambassador in Paris and worked as secretary of the cabinet for the foreign ministry.

Åström was born in 1915 and began working at the foreign ministry in 1939. Later, as a close colleague of Östen Undén, Dag Hammarskjöld and Olof Palme, Åström had a big influence on Swedish foreign policy in the post-war period.

At a meeting in Luxembourg, foreign minister Carl Bildt praised the late Åström for his leading role in formulating Sweden's foreign policy doctrine during the country's "era of neutrality."

"He was extraordinarily significant," said Bildt. "Neutrality is a doctrine that we've since put behind us, but it served Sweden well during a not uncomplicated phase of European history," said foreign minister Carl Bildt during a meeting in Luxembourg.

On a personal level, Åström revealed his homosexuality in his late 80s, and became something of a role model in the gay community.