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Swedish Foreign and Defense Ministers Oppose Joining NATO

Oct. 18, 2016 (EIRNS)—Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist have come under scathing attack for refusing to join NATO. Both are Social Democrats who believe in non-alignment, Russia’s RT reports today.

In a recent parliamentary debate, Wallström was accused of "lying flat for Russia," by opposition Conservatives, Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Center Party members. The Social Democrats and the Greens are in the governing coalition, with the other parties in opposition.

Wallström warned that NATO membership would lead to an arms race in the region.

"In the end, it’s about choosing between deterrence and détente. I advocate détente." Fear of Russia is driving the demands to join NATO, she said, and that should not determine Sweden’s defense policy.

"We have had a defense doctrine for over 200 years that has helped us steer clear of wars. If we were to join NATO, it would be seen as a sign that we are afraid of Russia,"

Wallström said. NATO membership would end Sweden’s control over its own defense budget; as a NATO member, Sweden would not be able to pursue an independent nuclear policy. She added, "We have close cooperation with NATO, but we still have the opportunity to make decisions." Wallström says she would like to resume contacts with Russia at a top political level, and especially would like to do it before Sweden assumes its responsibilities in the UN Security Council in which Russia is a permanent member.

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