Maja Suslin / TT
Minister Margot Wallström at the Riksdag Wednesday. Credit: Maja Suslin / TT

Disarmament, EU emphasized in foreign policy statement

The government will reinstate a so-called ambassador for human rights and will appoint an ambassador for disarmament, two highlights from this year's agenda-setting declaration of foreign policy.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström presented the declaration at the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag, Wednesday. Members of parliament were scheduled to hold a debate after the minister's speech. Click here to follow the debate in English.

Sweden has previously had an ambassador for human rights, reported newswire TT, but the appointment was not maintained by the previous government. The declaration also emphasizes international disarmament as a policy priority, referring to existing nuclear arsenals and tests conducted by North Korea in January.

Wallström also reaffirmed a commitment to a "feminist foreign policy."

The declaration continues the government line that Sweden will not remain passive if another EU or Nordic country is subject to catastrophe or attack. The government sees developments of violence and human rights abuses in Turkey as areas of concern.

As for Syria, the declaration reaffirms its condemnation of the Assad regime and Russia's bombing of rebel forces. Russia's "illegal" annexation of Crimea and military presence in eastern Ukraine are still described as flagrant violations of international law and the biggest threats to European security.

As it did last year, the declaration also reaffirms Sweden's aspiration to the UN Security Council on which Sweden could help safeguard international law.

Regarding the EU, the declaration warns against a possible Brexit and calls for a new agreement on migration.

The declaration reaffirms a recognition of Palestine, in what was seen as a bold move by Wallström in 2014 and which has drawn the ire of Israel. After the government received pressure from Morocco and recently declared that a recognition of the disputed Western Sahara was not on the table, the declaration calls for a fair, mutually acceptable solution fo the conflict there, which would meet the Saharawi people's right to self-determination.

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