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Archive for Sweden

Newsline: Turkey summons Swedish ambassador

Turkey summoned the Swedish envoy on Monday after images that allegedly insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and served as Kurdish militant propaganda were projected on the Turkish Embassy building in Stockholm, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. (https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Turkey-summons-Swedish-envoy-over-images-17601196.php) Anadolu Agency said Ambassador Staffan Herrstrom was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, where officials condemned the incident, called for an investigation and renewed a demand for Stockholm to take “concrete steps” against groups that Turkey considers to be security threats, according to Anadolu Agency.

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat demands to release national imprisoned in Sweden

Iranian Foreign Minister Hosein Amirabdolahian has held a telephone conversation with his Swedish counterpart Tobias Billström, to whom he demanded the release of Hamid Nuri, an Iranian citizen sentenced to life imprisonment for the mass executions and torture of opponents in 1988 in a prison in the city of Karaj. Amirabdolahian has warned in the call of “consequences” in bilateral relations for the “illegal detention” of Nuri, according to the official Iranian news agency IRNA. The head of Iranian diplomacy criticized the “politicization” of Nuri’s case. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/tehran-demands-the-release-of-an-iranian-imprisoned-in-sweden-for-the-execution-of-opponents/) Nuri was arrested in the European country in November 2019, after which a trial was opened against him in 2021 for his role in the killing of thousands of people. The executions were carried out following a secret edict issued by the then-great leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, after an armed incursion into Iran by the PMOI, an Iraq-based opposition group outlawed by Iranian authorities, according to the report published by Amnesty in 2018.

Newsline: Russia and Belarus ambassadors barred from Nobel ceremony

The ambassadors of Russia and Belarus have been excluded from this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm because of the war in Ukraine. “Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Nobel Foundation has chosen not to invite the ambassadors of Russia and Belarus to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm,” it said in a statement. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/russia-and-belarus-ambassadors-barred-from-nobel-ceremony/) The Nobel Foundation, a private foundation which administers the prestigious awards, normally invites ambassadors stationed in Sweden to the annual award ceremony on December 10. The Nobel Prizes are always handed out on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Newsline: Russia summons diplomats from Germany, Denmark and Sweden

Russia summoned diplomats from Germany, Denmark and Sweden to complain that representatives from Moscow and Gazprom had not been invited to join an investigation into ruptures of the Nord Stream gas pipelines. “Russia will obviously not recognise the pseudo-results of such an investigation unless Russian experts are involved,” the foreign ministry said. (https://news.yahoo.com/russia-rebukes-germany-denmark-sweden-094511333.html) The cause of the ruptures in the Nord Stream pipelines, which run under the Baltic Sea, remains unclear, but European Union countries have pointed to sabotage. The Danish Foreign Ministry said “the Russian wish to participate in the investigation of the Nord Stream leaks has been brought up through diplomatic channels in Moscow and Copenhagen.” Sweden’s Foreign Ministry said it had not received any summons, adding in an email that diplomats in Moscow were last week given a copy of a letter to Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, demanding Russia be part of the probe. Sweden has rejected the calls, denying Russian authorities to be part of the investigation or to share any findings before it is completed.

Newsline: Turkey summons Swedish ambassador comedy TV jokes

Turkey summoned the ambassador of Sweden to complain about “insulting content” directed at President Tayyip Erdogan on Swedish TV, according to a report published by Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency. According to Anadolu, Swedish Ambassador Staffan Herrstrom was told by Turkey’s foreign ministry that the “impertinent and ugly expression and images” about Erdogan and Turkey seen on Swedish TV were unacceptable. (https://www.malaysiasun.com/news/272867103/after-swedish-comedy-tv-jokes-about-erdogan-turkey-summons-ambassador) Swedish News, which routinely mocks Swedish and international politicians, targeted Erdogan over alleged human rights abuses and ended the segment by shouting, “Long live democracy!” Swedish public service television is tax-funded, but operates independently.

Newsline: Swedish diplomats leave North Korea, but embassy remains open

Officials say Swedish staff have left the country’s embassy in North Korea but the mission remains open and is being staffed by local employees. A Foreign Ministry spokesman says the staff were temporarily relocated. He says the situation in North Korea for diplomats and international organizations has become more difficult, partly due to the coronavirus. (https://wbng.com/2020/08/18/swedish-diplomats-leave-n-korea-but-embassy-remains-open/) North Korea has imposed a lockdown and shut its border with China, its main ally and economic lifeline, in response to the coronavirus. Sweden has had diplomatic relations with North Korea since 1973 and is one of the few Western countries with an embassy there. It provides consular services for the U.S. in North Korea.

Newsline: Sweden’s Ex-Ambassador to China Is Cleared of Wrongdoing

A former Swedish ambassador to China was cleared of charges of wrongdoing on Friday, culminating a strange saga that combined elements of a spy novel with the opaque reality of dealing with an authoritarian state where people can be grabbed in public and disappear. It was the first time in modern history that a Swedish diplomat has been prosecuted for crimes against state security, and the often heated trial revolved around questions about the written and unwritten rules of diplomacy. The Swedish diplomat, Anna Lindstedt, was accused of overstepping the boundaries of her role by arranging what prosecutors said were secret back-room meetings over the fate of a Hong Kong bookseller and Swedish citizen who remains detained in China. The bookseller, Gui Minhai, has not been seen by his family or in public since February. Swedish prosecutors argued that Ms. Lindstedt had overstepped her authority in arranging a meeting between Mr. Gui’s daughter, Angela, and two businessmen who offered to help her secure her father’s freedom. Ms. Lindstedt’s defense team argued that she had acted solely out of a desire to free a Swedish citizen. Two retired ambassadors gave testimony on her behalf, saying that ambassadors have wide latitude to act and are not obligated to report everything to the Foreign Ministry. She was also supported by twenty-one former Swedish diplomats, who earlier this year wrote a defense of Ms. Lindstedt in Dagens Nyheter, a daily newspaper, arguing that she was availing herself of standard tools and powers at an ambassador’s disposal. “The description of the crime refers to completely different, traitorous situations associated with war and conflicts,” the former ambassadors wrote. The court agreed, saying the prosecution had not met any of the requirements to prove their case and finding Ms. Lindstedt not guilty on the official charge of “arbitrariness during negotiations with a foreign power.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/10/world/europe/sweden-ambassador-china.html) “The court did not see that the prosecutor has proved that the ambassador negotiated with anyone representing the Chinese state,” Judge Anna Flodin said during a news conference announcing the verdict. “The court found that had she done so, she would have been empowered to in her role as ambassador.” “I am pleased and relieved,” Ms. Lindstedt told Dagens Nyheter. “As a Swedish diplomat you have to turn every stone to free a citizen who is being held.”

Newsline: Sweden’s Ex-Ambassador to China Is Tried Over Secret Meetings on Detainee

A former Swedish ambassador to China went on trial in Stockholm, charged with overstepping the boundaries of her role by arranging what prosecutors said were secret back-room meetings over the fate of a detained Hong Kong bookseller who is a Swedish citizen. The charges against the diplomat, Anna Lindstedt, relate to meetings she arranged without government approval at a Stockholm hotel in January 2019, between the daughter of the bookseller, Gui Minhai, and two businessmen who prosecutors say were representing Chinese state interests. The daughter has described the experience as “threatening,” and Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs later said it had no knowledge of the meetings. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/05/world/europe/trial-sweden-ambassador-china.html) Ms. Lindstedt is charged with “arbitrariness during negotiations with a foreign power,” an indictment that Hans Ihrman, the deputy chief public prosecutor at the national security unit, called “unprecedented in modern times.” Ms. Lindstedt had denied the charge, and did not want to make any statements outside court proceedings, according to Swedish public radio. Her trial is expected to run for eight days. Mr. Gui was one of five Hong Kong booksellers arrested by the Chinese authorities as they attempted to crack down on dissent in the Chinese territory and abroad. He was spirited away to China from Thailand in 2015 while at his vacation home, and accused by Chinese state news media outlets of publishing books that slurred Communist Party leaders. Months after he vanished, he appeared on Chinese state television and confessed to a deadly, drunken car crash more than a decade earlier. After two years in detention, he was released but was forced to remain in China. In 2018, he disappeared again in dramatic fashion — snatched from a train bound for Beijing while accompanied by two Swedish diplomats. Earlier this year, the Chinese authorities said he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of providing intelligence overseas.

Newsline: Philippine Embassy in Sweden Reopens After 8 Years

The Philippine Embassy in Sweden has reopened after being closed for eight years, the Filipino Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced recently, noting that the same embassy will offer its services for all Filipinos in Finland as well, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports. “The reopening of the embassy, which also has jurisdiction over Finland, is the result of the efforts of the landing team, which arrived in Sweden in late 2019,” the statement reads. (https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/philippine-embassy-in-sweden-reopens-after-8-years/) The Consul General and Officer-in-Charge Raul Dado will lead the team at the reopened embassy. He previously served as consul general at the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. Due to “economic constraints”, the Philippine Embassy in Sweden was closed in 2012. After the embassy stopped its services, the Philippines was represented by Honorary Consul General to Stockholm Erik Belfrage.

Newsline: Sweden ambassador to the US says herd immunity may be reached by May

Sweden’s ambassador to the United States has said the capital of the Nordic country could reach herd immunity by May – a result of a controversial response to the coronavirus pandemic involving few public restrictions. “About 30 percent of people in Stockholm have reached a level of immunity,” Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter told National Public Radio (NPR).To date, close to three million people have been infected by the new coronavirus, which has caused more than 206,000 deaths worldwide. “We could reach herd immunity in the capital as early as next month,” Olofsdotter said in the interview. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/sweden-ambassador-stockholm-reach-herd-immunity-200427072044548.html) So-called herd immunity occurs when a large enough percentage of a population becomes immune to a virus, either through infection or vaccination, thus preventing further spread throughout the group. While that percentage changes based on the pathogen, the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser has said models indicate about 60 percent of a given community would need to be immune to reach herd immunity for the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.