Secretary General Rasmussen praises Sweden as an effective and reliable partner
On 31 March, Secretary General Rasmussen travelled to Sweden to discuss the excellent cooperation between NATO and Sweden. During his visit, the Secretary General met with H.M. King Carl XVI Gustav, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Minister of Defence Sten Tolgfors and members of the Foreign Relations and Defence Committees.
Rasmussen thanked Sweden for its planned contribution of 8 Gripen fighter jets and support personnel to NATO's Operation Unified Protector to protect the Libyan population against the attacks of the Gaddafi regime. "Without prejudging deliberations in the Parliament, I would like to stress the importance of the Swedish contribution. Across the board, Sweden is an active provider of security and stability", Rasmussen stated.
The Secretary General also highlighted Sweden's other important contributions. "Sweden is a valuable partner of NATO. Sweden contributes in a very significant way to a number of NATO led operations, such as in Afghanistan and in KFOR. I express my strong appreciation for that", said the Secretary General in a joint press conference with the Swedish Prime Minister. Mazar-e-Sharif, the city where the Swedish troops are based, is one of the seven districts and provinces where Afghans are starting to take the lead in the coming months. Sweden also provides an important contribution to NATO's training efforts to build up the Afghan security forces.
The Secretary General also stressed Sweden's leading role in calling for more cooperation with the EU. In view of the difficult financial climate, both organisations are trying to spend smarter, and it makes sense to work together. Pooling and sharing is the way ahead, Mr Rasmussen said.
Mr. Rasmussen concluded his visit by delivering a key-note speech on “The New NATO and Sweden’s Security” at the Foreign Policy Institute.