Sweden doing everything to keep ‘out of war’, says foreign minister

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde during a joint press conference. [EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ]

Cooperation with NATO remains close and deep, and Sweden is doing everything to stay out of war, said foreign minister Ann Linde after meeting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

“We do everything to keep Sweden out of war, in every context and cooperate very closely with our partners,” Linde said in an interview for P1-morgon station.

Linde also welcomed the planned meeting between Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday.

“We want to resolve these issues diplomatically, not militarily. (…) In this tense situation, any steps that can be taken to continue diplomacy are positive,” she said.

The foreign minister did, however, strongly criticise Russian so-called “security guarantees” against any further eastward expansion of NATO, describing them as “completely unacceptable”.

She repeated that every country is free to choose its own security solution, including which organisations to join.

The sanctions prepared by the West in case of new Russian aggression against Ukraine will be tough, she also said. EU foreign ministers also raised this during a meeting on Monday 24 January with their US counterpart Antony Blinken.

At the same time, Linde stressed that Finland is Sweden’s most important security policy partner and that military non-alignment is the right way to go for her country.

Sweden had no plans to supply weapons to Kyiv, Linde said.

“We have very strong rules on arms exports, so it is not an option for us. But we do support Ukraine in many ways, especially through a very high level of aid for reforms, which we believe is one of the most important things,” she said.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)

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