Government wants to send troops to Iraq

The Swedish government wants to send military personnel to Iraq to train soldiers there to fight against the Islamic extremists of IS. Foreign Minister Margot Wallström  says a proposal is to be presented to parliament.

She tells Swedish Radio News: “There is a lot we can teach them. They need advice and support. We would send instructors, this isn’t about sending combat personnel.”

Wallström is uncertain when the legislation will be ready for parliament, she says the security of the Swedish soldiers needs to be considered. She says Finland would also contribute to the training mission, which might be led by Germany.

After the September 11 attacks, Sweden sent troops to Afghanistan, but was strongly critical of the American invasion of Iraq.

Wallström announced the initiative at the opening of the Society and Defence conference in Sälen. Political leaders, military, and defence experts have gathered at the winter resort for the annual meeting of the Swedish defence Community.

Earlier Sunday Wallström told TT that Swedish foreign policy has taken a new direction. She says there will be tougher line against Russia, more gender equality in all areas, and a somewhat sharper tone against the United States.

The previous center-right government did not criticize the US or Britain after the Edward Snowden revelations of NSA snooping. Where her predecessor Carl Bildt commented “I know what world we live in”, Wallström  calls the American Internet spying “very remarkable”, adding “I think it is obvious that you have to say that this is unacceptable.”