NATO agreement won’t bring nuclear weapons to Sweden

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) and Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist hold a news conference after a Nordic defence ministers meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, November 10, 2015. Jessica Gow/REUTERS/TT News Agency
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) and Sweden’s Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist hold a news conference after a Nordic defence ministers meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, November 10, 2015. Jessica Gow/REUTERS/TT News Agency
NATO members will not be allowed to transport or bring nuclear weapons into Sweden even during times of war and conflict, according to a draft bill that the government presented to the Council on Legislation Monday.

The draft bill also concluded that Sweden’s position as a non-aligned country is not affected by the host nation support agreement with the military alliance.

Sweden signed a so-called host nation support agreement with NATO in 2014. The agreement allows NATO members to transport soldiers through Sweden in peacetime and makes it easier for NATO troops to take part in military exercises in Sweden. The government, however, proposes that the current agreement should be amended to allow member states to transport troops and carry out military exercises also in times of war and conflict.

Critics fear that this would mean that NATO countries could transport nuclear weapons through Sweden, but Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist tells Swedish Radio News that the government now has clarified that nuclear weapons are not to be placed on Swedish soil.

“I’m under the impression that other member states respect this demand. There will not be any nuclear weapons on Swedish territory,” Hultqvist says.

The government underscores that Sweden has to approve each time a member state wants to deploy troops on Swedish soil, but the country will not demand to inspect NATO warships for nuclear weapons.

The draft bill also includes amendments to the host nation support agreement, which will reduce the administrative work to bring NATO troops to Sweden, reports Swedish Radio News.

Parliament is expected to vote on the bill later this spring, and if passed the changes will come into effect on July 1st.

Related stories from around the North:

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Finland: Finland confirms 6th Russian airspace violation in just over a year, Yle News

Norway: U.S. Marines jump into freezing Finnmark water, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  New Russian spy ship to keep tabs on Norway, Barents Observer

Sweden:  New security landscape in the Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. general says Alaska military cuts not final without Arctic plan, Alaska Public Radio Network

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