Obama Stockholm agenda now official
President Obama's official engagements during his two-day visit to Sweden next week have now been made public. After talks with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and a meeting with the prime ministers of neighbouring Scandinavian countries, the US president will go to Stockholm's Great Synagogue and will also visit the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
The visit to Stockholm's Great Synagogue is to pay tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in the final months of WWII. Wallenberg is an honorary US citizen.
Obama will also on Wednesday be making a brief, 30-minute visit to Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology, to see research work on renewable energy.
On Thurdsay, a final point on the Obama itinerary, before travelling to the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg, is an audience with the Swedish King and Queen at the Royal Palace.
The visit, the first bilateral visit for a serving US president to Sweden, is expected to cause wide-spread disruption to travel in and around Stockholm, with large sections of the city closed to car traffic. Stockholm City Council has warned travellers of disruption to public transport.
The aviation authority, LFV, says that scheduled flights on Wednesday and Thursday will be affected to a minor degree, provided that the US president's flight arrives on time and the weather is good. However, people are advised to give themselves plenty of time to get to Arlanda. All business aircraft are prohibited from Bromma and Arlanda airports during the restriction period over the two days.
Some 2,000 police officers will be on duty prior to and during the visit, with some estimates putting the cost at 24 million Swedish kronor.
Several demonstrations are also expected to be held across Stockholm on Wednesday night, the day Obama arrives.
Protest groups are planning a march through the centre of the city using the slogan "No to big brother Obama".
Uncertainty over whether the crisis in Syria – and pressure on the American leader to respond militarily to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Damascus – could keep Obama in Washington was played down by Swedish Foreign Ministry officials.
"We have no information that suggests that the Obama visit won't take place. We continue to work on the assumption that he is coming," a representative of the Swedish Foreign Ministry told Swedish Radio News.