wikileaks

Wikileaks bombshell hits Sweden

Sweden has secretly had a closer relationship with NATO than what was previously thought, despite the nation's policy of non-alignment – according to a telegram that the American embassy in Stockholm sent back to the State Department in Washington in the spring of 2007.

The American ambassador at the time, Michael Wood wrote, "Sweden's official security policy is non-participation in military alliances during peacetime and neutrality during wartime. Its active participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace and its role in leading the European Union's 1,500 troops-strong Nordic Battle group give the lie to the official policy."

"While Sweden's official foreign policy doctrine emphasizes non-alignment, in practice Sweden is a pragmatic and strong partner with NATO," Wood wrote.

The site Wikileaks published this telegram as part of a quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables, some previously marked as confidential, revealing the normally guarded ins and outs of American diplomacy. Of the documents, 672 were sent from the American embassy in Stockholm.

Other cables sent from Stockholm reveal that the U.S. judged current Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to be a better diplomatic partner than his predecessor, Göran Persson.

The telegrams also tell of the tight-knit relationship between then-ambassador and Sweden's defense minister Sten Tolgfors.

"The Ambassador has cultivated a close working relationship with Tolgfors from Tolgfors' prior job as Minister of Foreign Trade. Tolgfors went to high school in the U.S. and told the Ambassador he loves the U.S. and maintains friends there," Wood wrote.

The cables also show that Urban Ahlin, the Social Democrats' foreign affairs spokesperson, asked the U.S. for help when it came to getting other politicians on board with prolonging the Afghanistan mission.

In a confidential telegram, the embassy's then-deputy chief Robert Silverman wrote, "The Swedish deployment to Afghanistan comes up for extension in late 2008, and Ahlin asked us to help in telling the story of the humanitarian role Sweden's troops play."

Ahlin told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that he denies asking for help.

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