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foreign relations

Reinfeldt and Bildt to Moscow

Published onsdag 3 mars 2010 kl 08.49
Russia President Dmitry Medvedev

Updated 5:04 PM

The recent thaw in diplomatic relations between Sweden and Russia continues with prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and foreign minister Carl Bildt announcing a state visit to Moscow next Tuesday to meet Vladimir Putin and president Dmitrij Medvedev.

The prime minister told news agency TT that Russia "is a big, important nearby neighbor country, with which we have all reason to have good relations."

Reinfeldt said talks with Medvedev will focus on climate change negotiations, EU cooperation, and trade, while the meeting with prime minister Vladimir Putin will involve Baltic sea cooperation and environmental questions.

The relations between the two countries had detoriated in recent years, especially as Sweden criticized Russia for human rights violations in the war with Georgia in 2008. The conflict reached its peak when Russia blocked Foreign Minister Carl Bildt from visiting Moscow that year.

But Bildt now says that he is on "very good" terms with his Russian counterpart Sergej Lavrov, and points to the "excellent" summit between EU and Russia that Sweden hosted in November of last year.

Sweden's approval of the Russian-led Nord Stream pipeline to pass through their waters in the Baltic Sea marked the first indication of a thaw in their relations.

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