Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Sweden

Newsline: Guatemala asks Sweden, Venezuela to remove ambassadors over ‘interference’

Guatemala asked the governments of Sweden and Venezuela to withdraw their ambassadors, accusing the diplomats of interfering in domestic politics and calling the country corrupt. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has been assailed by graft accusations against his family, and he has been at loggerheads with a United Nations-backed anti-corruption body of which Sweden is a prominent backer. “Because Ambassadors Anders Kompass and Elena Alicia Salcedo Poleo have, in the course of their work, assumed attitudes that result in interference in the internal affairs of Guatemala, the governments of Sweden and Venezuela have been asked to withdraw them,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel told a news conference the requests to remove the ambassadors had nothing to do with the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), however.



Newsline: Suspected arson at Portugal’s embassy in Sweden

Swedish authorities are investigating a large fire that broke out at the Portuguese embassy in central Stockholm on Wednesday. The fire is being treated as arson according to the Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva. “Everything points to an isolated act from a disturbed person who demanded to speak with the official in charge of the portuguese consular service. His demand was accepted but before they could speak he acted criminally by starting a fire and then running away.” said Silva in a televised statement from Lisbon. According the police 14 people received medical assistance after the fire and two were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation though none are believed to be in a serious condition. Police have now arrested a man linked to the investigation but will not comment on his role.


Newsline: Police suspect arson after fire at Stockholm embassy building injures 14

Police in Stockholm have arrested a man on suspicion of arson after a fire at an embassy building injured 14 people. The alarm was raised about the fire at the Narvavägen building housing the embassies of Portugal, Tunisia, Argentina and Belgium as well as apartments and a restaurant at around lunchtime on Wednesday afternoon. “The operation is still ongoing. Around 14 people have been affected by the fire, with no serious injuries but smoke and minor injuries,” Stockholm police press spokesperson Kjell Lindgren told The Local. “The latest information from the fire fighters is that there’s no one left in the building, but they’re still working to extinguish the fire in the apartment section.” Lindgren said police were looking to speak to a person who they “think could have something to do with” the incident, with a description released to the public in an effort to locate him. Asked if it’s thought the fire was started deliberately, Lindgren affirmed “we think it was lit by someone, which is why we’ve started an investigation into arson”. An arrest was made in central Stockholm just after 2pm on Wednesday, with a man arrested suspected of arson on reasonable grounds (the lower degree of suspicion according to Swedish law).


Newsline: Stockholm court sentences Russian embassy attacker to compulsory psychological treatment

The Stockholm District Court has sentenced Leonid Karnyushin, who committed a string of violent trespassing offenses against the Russian embassy and inflicted damaged on Russia’s diplomatic property in January, to a mandatory treatment order and a major fine, a court spokesperson told TASS. “The court has sentenced Karnyushin to mandatory treatment, the duration of which will be determined by doctors. He will also have to pay a fine of 106,794 Swedish kronas ($12,967),” the court spokesperson said. Swedish prosecutors charged Karnyuhsin with three counts of maliciously breaking and entering into diplomatic premises and trespassing, two counts of inflicting damage and attempted assault on officials. On January 6, Karnyushin rammed his car through the barrier arm at the ambassadorial parking lot and then drove through the gate of the Russian trade mission’s garage. On January 8, he damaged the gate of the trade mission’s administrative building while driving a truck. On January 10, he broke into the embassy premises and damaged video surveillance equipment on the trade mission’s premises. Following each incident, the police would detain Karnyushin and then release him several hours later. On January 13, he was apprehended for trespassing and inflicting damage. He pleaded guilty and said that his conduct was due to his anger at Russian diplomats who had denied him a Russian entry visa and “were behaving as if they were in Russia.” Last week, the results of his forensic examination were made public, which showed that Karnyuhsin was suffering from a mental disorder.


Newsline: Sweden summons Russian ambassador over nerve toxin claim

The Swedish foreign ministry said it would summon Russia’s ambassador on Tuesday over Moscow’s claim that Sweden could be the source of a nerve toxin used in the Skripal attack in Britain. Britain accuses Russia of being behind the attack in Salisbury on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy for the West, and his daughter Yulia, using the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. Moscow has poured scorn on the allegations and a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Saturday the most likely source of the agent was Britain itself, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United States or Sweden. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has called that claim “unacceptable and unfounded”.


Newsline: Swedish parliament demands withdrawal of ambassador from Turkey

Members of the Swedish Parliament have demanded that their government withdraws its ambassador from Ankara in protest at the ongoing Turkish military offensive on Syria’s Afrin. Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallström, and members of Sweden’s Left Party and Green Party were present during the meeting, Iraqi news outlet K24 reported. The lawmakers called on the government to pressure Ankara to stop its “illegitimate” attacks on the Kurdish region of Afrin. “We are working within the Swedish and European Parliament to stop the fierce attack by Turkey on [Afrin], which has left innocent civilians, including women and children, dead,” Amineh Kakabaveh, a Kurdish MP from the Left Party was quoted by K24 as saying. Sweden should “withdraw its ambassador from Ankara and declare its rejection of the brutal attacks by the Turkish army on Afrin and other areas in western Kurdistan,” Jabar Amin of the Green Party told K24.


Newsline: Sweden’s First Female Ambassador to the U.S.

Karin Olofsdotter took office late last year as the new ambassador of Sweden to the United States. She is no stranger to America, but takes pride in being the first woman to hold such a role in Washington. During her career, she has run the Department for Promotion of Sweden, Trade and CSR in Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, served as her country’s ambassador in Budapest, Hungary, and held positions in the Swedish embassies in the U.S. and Russia, as well as in the Mission of Sweden to NATO. At 51, Olofsdotter is one of those bold officials who have raised their family across borders and traveled the world to promote her country’s cultural and political agenda, all while having fun and defying stereotypes.