Sweden’s Social Democrats considers backtracking on the issue of the full withdrawal of the Gripen fighter jets from Libya


Sunday, 05 June 2011
The Swedish Social Democrats said yesterday that they would crave the return of their fighter jets from Libya if they are to continue supporting the government’s Libyan position.  This was said by its leader H�kan Juholt while still in negotiation with the conservative government. The conservatives seem to have squeezed something out of the Social Democrats and now they seem to be toning down their rhetoric.

It stands that one or more Swedish Gripen fighter jets could be left on service in Libya in the extended operations there. This is being seen as a scenario in which the Social Democrats did not rule out in ongoing negotiations with the Conservatives, according to the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter and other Swedish media sources.

The reports hold that Urban Ahlin, foreign policy spokesman for the Social Democrats, was on Sunday in a telephone conversations and exchange of texts with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who was in Singapore, said things like those being observed above.


“The negotiations are progressing. We have gone down a bit into more depth of what NATO has requested and have broaden our appropriations. And I do not mean the letter from Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Secretary General of NATO) but the more specific request from NATO, which is based on the need for help in the operation,” said Urban Ahlin.

The Swedish newspaper add that the spokesman intimated that one focus of the party talks lingered about political solutions to Libya where there is a ceasefire and responsibility being transferred from NATO to the UN and the International Contact Group.

“We have had many discussions about how the Swedish support should look like at that time.
It's about assistance, humanitarian aid, democracy building and a naval force to monitor the arms embargo.”

About the earlier issues relating to the eight Gripen aircraft, which the Social Democrats insisted that they should not be used in the maintenance of the no-fly zone over Libya, Urban Ahlin  seems to backtrack and is seeing other ways the Swedish air missions could look like”

“I do not exclude that one or more Gripen aircraft will be left for aerial reconnaissance, "he said. There is also a general view that the Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt is also considering reducing the number of Gripen fighters if the Swedish air operation is not to be re-focused.
By Team

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