Row over embassy closures

Foreign minister, Carl Bildt, says that the opposition Social Democrats' proposal to save four Swedish embassies abroad with additional budgetary funds is insufficient.

Swedish Radio News reports that the Social Democrats propose to make around US$ 7 million available in order to save the closure of embassies in Vietnam, Malaysia, Argentina and Angola. Bildt says, however, that this is not enough and that, although the centre-right government would like to keep these embassies open, it has no choice but to close them.

The issue goes back to last autumn when parliament passed a motion requiring the government to make extensive budgetary savings, including from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a part of these required saving, the government announced the closure of the these four embassies.

In an attempt to save the embassies from closure, the Social Democrats now say that extra money can be made available. For the foreign minister though, this is too little, too late. He says that in order for the embassies to be saved, all of the Foreign Ministry's cuts would need to be reversed and that besides, the process for closing these embassies has already begun.