Secretary General in Sweden to build on strong partnership
The partnership between NATO and Sweden is already strong, but it has the potential to be even stronger, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a visit to Sweden on 14 January.
Swedish personnel serve alongside NATO troops in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and Swedish aircraft joined the NATO-led mission to protect civilians in Libya in 2011. All three missions were mandated by the United Nations Security Council.
“Your country is one of NATO’s most active and effective partners,” Mr Fogh Rasmussen said in a speech to the Folk och Försvar conference in Sälen, Sweden. “We now have a real opportunity to make our partnership even stronger … This is an opportunity we must grasp together.”
In Stockholm, the Secretary General met Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, while he held talks with Defence Minister Karin Enström in Sälen.
The meetings were a chance to thank Sweden for its contribution to peace and security and discuss the potential for future cooperation, the Secretary General said.
“I see three areas where our partnership holds particular promise: Afghanistan; military capabilities; and further strengthening the ability of our forces to operate together,” he said.
NATO is already planning a mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces once the current ISAF mission ends at the end of 2014. Sweden has committed to contribute to that mission, and has joined the planning process.
With the Smart Defence initiative, NATO is promoting multinational cooperation on defence capabilities. For example, Sweden already cooperates with a number of Allies and Finland to provide C-17 heavy-lift aircraft.
NATO is also developing the Connected Forces Initiative to reinforce the ties between national militaries through greater cooperation on training, exercises and education.
"There is particular potential for stronger cooperation in these areas," the Secretary General said.