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Viewing cable 09STOCKHOLM266, SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER BILDT'S WASHINGTON AGENDA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STOCKHOLM266 2009-04-29 15:03 2010-12-05 12:12 SECRET Embassy Stockholm
Appears in these articles:
http://svtplay.se/v/2256485/dokument_inifran/de_hemliga_telegrammen
VZCZCXRO2245
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV
DE RUEHSM #0266/01 1191514
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 291514Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4317
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 STOCKHOLM 000266 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/29/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV EUN SW
SUBJECT: SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER BILDT'S WASHINGTON AGENDA 

REF: A. STOCKHOLM 259 
B. BRUSSELS 537 
C. STOCKHOLM 192 
D. STOCKHOLM 65 

Classified By: CDA Robert Silverman for reasons 1.4 (B) & (D). 

1. (S) Summary: For Bildt's May 4 visit to Washington, we recommend the following top three issues: additional contributions in Afghanistan, resettlement of Guantanamo detainees, and leadership in the EU on autonomous sanctions on Iran. Given Sweden's upcoming EU Presidency, July-December 2009, early action now on these topics could spur other EU Member States. Other issues he is coming with include security relations with Russia, Turkish EU accession, the deteriorating situation in Bosnia, and support for Ukraine and the Baltics. During his meeting with the Secretary, Bildt will extend an invitation for her to meet with EU ministers on the margins of the September 4-5 Gymnich in Stockholm, and he will inquire about the possibility of Prime Minister Reinfeldt visiting the White House before Sweden's EU Presidency commences on July 1 (Ref D). End Summary. Carl Bildt: Medium Size Dog with Big Dog Attitude 

--------------------------------------------- ---- 

2. (S) Bildt represents a medium-size country (9.5 million, $350 billion annual GDP) that has some major power ambitions and capabilities, and which looks forward to working closely with us on its upcoming EU Presidency. Sweden has the world's 7th largest foreign aid program (nearly $5 billion), focused on Africa and the Middle East. The largest Nordic country, with the legacy of a Baltic empire, it often takes regional leadership roles (e.g., leading a PRT in Afghanistan with Finland and Norway). It also has a tradition of international civil servants including Jan Eliasson (Darfur), Rolf Ekeus and Hans Blix (Iraq) and Bildt himself (Bosnia). Bildt, formerly a prime minister from 1991-1994, made a surprise come-back as foreign minister under the Moderate Party-led alliance government elected in 2006. He is widely respected in Sweden as an elder statesman (he is 60 while Prime Minister Reinfeldt is 42), and has a free hand in running foreign policy at present. But he is not close to Reinfeldt and has limited political skills (often seen as a haughty member of the nobility, not the image which Reinfeldt and the new Moderates seek to project). Some rumors in Stockholm have him moving on after Sweden's EU Presidency finishes in December, perhaps to a senior job in Brussels. But for many European observers, he is seen as too close to the British and the Americans to get full French or German backing to replace Solana in the High Representative role. 

Afghanistan 
----------- 

3. (C) Sweden has some 400 troops based in four provinces in Regional Command-North, joined by an additional 200 Norwegians and Finns. The Swedes will expand to 500 troops by the end of 2009, including a second OMLT at brigade level, plus a C-130 at ISAF HQ's disposal and medevac helicopters coming in 2010-2011. Recent security incidents in and around the Swedish PRT in Mazar-e Sharif involved the ambush and killing of ten Afghan police officers, and firing on Swedish troops. Given the rising threat level, Sweden deployed 40 special operations troops to the PRT on April 20. Bildt will be interested in U.S. thinking on security trends, and should be asked about funding Afghanistan National Army training. 

4. (C) On the civilian side, Sweden could -- and should -- do more. It currently has three officers in EUPOL and three more in training, but the head of the joint MoD/MFA-run training academy tells us that several dozen more Swedish policemen want to go to Afghanistan. We recommend USG interlocutors stress to Bildt the importance of Sweden doing more on EUPOL quickly, and then using its EU Presidency to lead EU-wide efforts to fully staff EUPOL. 

Guantanamo 
---------- 

5. (S) Sweden's Minister for Migration Tobias Billstrom has the lead on detainee resettlement, but FM Bildt is directly involved through his stewardship of the bilateral relationship. For the past few months, Swedish officials have told us they are considering accepting one or more detainees and the Swedish security service vetted and cleared five Uighurs and two non-Uighurs for possible resettlement. An independent agency, the Swedish Migration Board, makes the resettlement decisions, but the government has the ability to consult with the Board on groups of individuals of "particular interest." We recommend raising this with Bildt 
STOCKHOLM 00000266 002 OF 003 
during each of his Washington meetings, noting general UNHCR support for resettlement (which is important in Swedish refugee resettlement), and asking for Swedish leadership in the lead-up to its EU Presidency. 

Iran 
----- 

6. (S) Sweden continues to lead efforts by a small number of EU members to raise concerns with EU autonomous sanctions on Iran (Ref B). Bildt is directing these efforts, for several reasons. For economic reasons, Sweden is generally skeptical about the effectiveness of sanctions and in particular with Iran, where Ericsson and Volvo Trucks, among other Swedish companies, have significant exports. Bildt may also hope to play a mediating role with Iran and may thus be trying to keep relations with Tehran warm. MFA POL Director Lyrvall recently told us he expects more discussion within the EU on why the Americans would be calling for sanctions now, before enough time has been given to the Iranians to respond to recent overtures (Ref A). Perhaps in a few months, possibly September, if Tehran has not responded, it might be time for Washington to "use the considerable political capital" it has built up to bring Russia and China along on a new UNSC resolution, he continued. We have urged the Swedes to focus on the existing UNSCRs, especially the enhanced vigilance language of UNSCR 1803, to give the EU3 the tools they are asking for, including support for additional designations. 

Other Topics: Russia, Balkans, Turkey, Ukraine --------------------------------------------- - 

7. (S) Russia: Last summer's Georgia crisis rattled Swedish security planning, causing a delay in the planned publication of the long-term defense bill. Given what the Swedes see as Russia's more threatening posture in the Baltic and High North, Bildt would like to compare views on threat analysis, engaging Russia militarily (Sweden stopped all mil-mil exchanges with the Russians last August) and the Medvedev security proposal. Bildt is reportedly worried about Greek plans for an informal OSCE ministerial in Corfu, and the possibility that Athens will unwisely push for a deal at any cost. Our intelligence cooperation with Sweden on Russia is excellent; DIA Director LTGEN Burgess will be here next week for exchanges with the Swedes on Russia and other topics. 

8. (C) On the Balkans, Bildt will likely raise his concerns about Bosnia and the worrisome trends he sees there. We have asked the Swedes to continue supporting the EUPOL/Althea mission (even though they no longer have troops involved), but interlocutors here have increasingly been pushing the view that there is no longer a military mission requiring the presence of European troops. Bildt may raise his concerns about both "enlargement fatigue" and the growing unwillingness of other member states to move forward on deeper integration for the Western Balkans. 

9. (C) On Turkey, the Swedes are leading the push in the EU to open new chapters for Turkey's accession talks. PM Reinfeldt, who normally defers to Bildt on foreign policy issues, is especially concerned about this issue; Reinfeldt visited Turkey after President Obama and echoed his message about support for Turkey's EU accession. Reinfeldt's staff tell us the Swedes are unhappy over what they perceive as a weakening of the British position on Turkish accession, and EU Minister Cecilia Malmstrom traveled to London April 28 to consult on Turkey with UK EU Minister Caroline Flynt. Bildt traveled to Cyprus in late April, and hosted northern Cypriot leader Talat in Stockholm as well, as part of the Swedish strategy of moving forward on Turkey's accession. Bildt will want to coordinate on ways ahead, possibly asking for more U.S. pressure on Ankara to allow Greek Cypriot fishing vessels into Turkish ports. 

10. (C) Ukraine and the Baltics are of special interest given Sweden's traditional focus on countries that -- like it -- lie on Russia's periphery. Sweden's ambassador in Kyiv thinks a second tranche of IMF loans will keep the economy afloat for some months and that President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko seem to be working together on the IMF, if not on anything else. But they see Yushchenko losing power and assess that Tymoshenko would win a second-round runoff of the presidential election likely to be held this autumn. Bildt is worried that the closer Ukraine-EU ties envisioned by the Eastern Partnership are under threat. Sweden's support for the Baltics (e.g., it convened a meeting with other Nordics and the IMF to bail out Latvia in December) is motivated partly by a desire to prevent Baltic currency devaluations that could bankrupt Swedish banks, but also by Sweden's concern that these countries not slip back into the Russian economic sphere. Sweden just concluded a deal to build an undersea electrical cable to Lithuania, STOCKHOLM 00000266 003 OF 003 called Swedlink, that will provide 700-1,000 megawatts to the Baltics by 2016. 

11. (C) Bildt will ask about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He has focused his public remarks on humanitarian issues, urging that the Gaza border crossings be opened immediately. POL Director Lyrvall recently stressed to us that the international community cannot ignore Hamas; "Fatah-only elections would mean the end of the Palestinian state." On the possibility of an EU association agreement with Syria, Sweden has been in favor but is willing to wait to see the results of the elections in Lebanon. It has promised to consult with us before pushing for closer ties with Syria within the EU. SILVERMAN