The President's statement comes as a surprise to the Swedish Foreign Ministry. "I'm not sure what's behind the statement. For the first part, we are constantly working to get Dawit Isaak released. Secondly, that's why we are in constant contact with top level representatives for Eritrea," says Frank Belfrage, cabinet secretary in the Foreign Ministry.
The Foreign Ministry has not received any signals from Eritrea that the two country's diplomatic ties have worsened. "No, that's why it's quite surprising to hear," he says.
The Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak was arrested in 2001 in his native Eritrea, as part of a crackdown on journalists and the political opposition. He remains behind bars today, despite no charges ever being filed against him.