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Meeting with Carl Bildt – photos

February 27, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in Canberra on February 27, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in Canberra on February 27, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in Canberra on February 27, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in Canberra on February 27, 2013

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One Comment
  1. February 27, 2013 3:22 pm

    Bob, I saw you on Q & A on ABC TV and listened to your comments about Sweden. You seemed to be idealising Sweden for the way that country used to be, the way it was then portrayed and how we thought it was. Yes, Sweden was neutral back when you and I were young. But Sweden is now a full partner, if a little short of being a member of NATO, has participated in NATO exercises since the mid 1990s, is fully NATO interoperable and it’s Air Force deployed to Sigonella Air Base in Sicily, to assist in operations over Libya. Sweden’s role was that of an armed enforcer of the no-fly zone. This was the task that all of NATO was supposed to carry out. Air strikes were an add-on.

    Sweden is a major arms manufacturer and seller and this too is not new. Check the SIPRI report on this http://www.sipri.org/ You will find that Sweden sold weapons to several parties, including Australia, during the Indochina War. I study the CIA’s Secret War in Laos and can assure you that Sweden was involved in selling weapons to the US and even to the CIA in full knowledge of where these weapons would be used. Sweden sold the FFV Carl Gustav recoilless anti-armour rifle to Australia, though these were not found to be very useful in Vietnam (see Malcolm Fraser’s reply on this in Hansard).

    Back in the time of Olof Palme a number of US soldiers sought refuge in Sweden, but I am not so sure that modern day soldiers with consciences find such a warm welcome there. Certainly, Canada has become a less welcoming refuge for asylum seekers than during the Vietnam War – but then they too were playing both sides of the street. They were selling weapons for use in Vietnam at the same time as benefiting from the US brain-drain.

    So, Bob, your comments on Q & A were inaccurate and misleading, but then Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Carl Bilt was on his way to visit you and it is no good to upset a guest, is it? As you well know, Carl Bilt is also the architect of many of the changes in Sweden’s foreign policy settings that I would find regrettable. I preferred the rare phenomenon of a neutral Sweden as a fine example to the rest of Europe. It is no longer that.

    Your comments on Julian Assange were slightly less moderate than those of Malcolm Turnbull, so close are the two major parties these days. I would just say that the pattern of your comments over a period of time on Julian Assange and Wikileaks would not inspire confidence in me if it was my life at risk. It is so hard to know when you are telling the truth and when you are delivering standard Gillard government speaking points.

    By the way, I am glad you care about Laos and the great harm that was done to that country. That is my passion. Please review the government’s position on cluster bombs. Some of us are very upset with what passes for ratification of the ban treaty. We prefer an Australia than abhors banned egregious weapons and delivers genuine humanitarian aid. Have a look through the many excellent submissions, you’ll find mine there too. Please – there could even be votes in it.

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