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Carl Bildt — Is he serious?

May 21, 2013

Carl Bildt, the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, feels that the South African-led joint humanitarian appeal for the elimination of nuclear weapons, signed by 80 NPT Member States, is “below my position.”

We in SLMK, the Swedish affiliate of IPPNW, have worked hard over a long time to resurrect the failing dedication to nuclear disarmament in the Swedish Foreign Office. We tried repeatedly to get the MFA to sign on to the South African paper at the NPT PrepCom. We also reminded the MFA that when Sweden now leaves the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) group, which it once founded and which was so important at the 2000 NPT Review, Sweden should search to develop other means to work for nuclear abolition.

We had no success. The MFA prefers to align itself with the nuclear-weapon states.

Actually, we have over decennia met with all Swedish Foreign Ministers discussing our proposals for nuclear disarmament. Mr. Bildt, however, has shown no interest in meeting with us. He rarely responds to our letters, or to any attempts by NGOs to bring peace issues to his attention.
In his call to a popular call-in radio program, and later in interviews with regular news programs, he insisted that “this is a small case,” and that “Sweden does not generally sign such statements.”

“Of course we would like to ban all wars,” he added, “but that is a meaningless statement….Serious states did not sign this statement.”

In a way, we should be grateful that Mr. Bildt exposed himself with his haughty and arrogant comments. We and other peace groups will of course in the coming election campaign remind the government about these statements.

We will send his repeated references to “not serious states” to representatives of at least some of those 80 states, such as Norway and Denmark, who felt they were doing something quite serious in joining this statement of humanitarian principle. We will not let him get away with this arrogance.

Mr Bildt has been on the board of Lundin Oil, a company presently under investigation for supporting the violence directed against people in South Sudan, where large groups have been killed and displaced by military gangs, allegedly connected to the government. The investigations of the company will unfortunately not reach a conclusion soon, maybe not before next year’s election.

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