Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Sweden

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.


Newsline: Swedish embassy in Iran investigated over improper visa processing

Two employees at Sweden’s embassy in Teheran have been suspended from their positions over suspicions of improper visa processing. Sweden’s Foreign Ministry (UD) has been investigating irregularities at the embassy since the summer, Sveriges Radio reports. “It’s to do with migration questions and involves the handling of visas so clearly it’s serious,” UD press head Sofia Karlberg told Sveriges Radio’s Ekot show. Runar Hellström, manager at Sweden’s Migration Agency Migrationsverket, explained that improper visa processing could mean for example that visas have been granted despite requirements not being met, or evidently incorrect documents are accepted in processing.


Newsline: Sweden summons Turkey ambassador after Swedish citizen charged

Sweden summoned Turkey’s ambassador on Monday over concerns that a Swedish citizen, among 11 other activists, risks up to 15 years in prison in a case that has sparked international outrage. Ali Gharavi, an IT consultant and writer, was detained while attending a July 5th workshop in Istanbul along with several other human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director. Turkish prosecutors on Sunday sought prison terms of up to 15 years for the activists, the Dogan news agency said. Gharavi, who is of Iranian origin, has worked as the IT head at the Center for Victims of Torture, an international nonprofit group. It is the third time that Sweden has summoned the Turkish ambassador this year over Gharavi’s detention. Turkey accuses the activists, who include German citizen Peter Steudtner as well as the director of Amnesty Turkey, Idil Eser, and its Turkey chair, Taner Kilic, of “supporting an armed terror group”. But human rights groups say the detentions are aimed at silencing political dissent in a crackdown under the state of emergency imposed after last year’s coup attempt.


Newsline: Canadian pastor freed from North Korean prison after efforts from Swedish embassy

Relatives of a Canadian pastor released this week after more than two years in a North Korean prison say he is “on his way home” and they are anxious to be reunited with him. The Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korea’s central court had decided to free Hyeong Soo Lim, who was serving a life sentence for anti-state activities. The pastor’s release was described as “sick bail,” but no other details were given. In a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman for his family said “there is a long way to go” in terms of Lim’s healing and stressed the need for privacy as he receives unspecified medical attention. Lisa Pak also said the family is grateful to the Canadian government and the Swedish embassy in North Korea for working behind the scenes to secure the pastor’s freedom. She did not say when he was scheduled to arrive in Canada.

Canadian pastor freed from North Korean prison after efforts from Swedish embassy: family

Newsline: Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang confirms arrest of the US citizen

North Korea has detained another US citizen, bringing to 3 the number of Americans held in the country amid increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang Sunday confirmed the detainment of the US citizen but did not elaborate on the matter. However, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing unnamed sources, reported on the same day that a Korean-American man was arrested Friday at Pyongyang’s international airport. According to the agency, the man in his fifties identified only by his surname Kim was trying to leave the country when North Korean police arrested him. Kim has been involved in aid and relief programs to North Korea and formerly worked as professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China which has a sister university in Pyongyang. North Korea has at least two other Americans in its prisons. Last year in January, Otto Warmbier, who was 21 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison after he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner.