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Hultqvist: A growing presence from the United States during application

Hultqvist: A growing presence from the United States during application

Hultqvist(S) was invited to the Pentagon in Washington to discuss the security situation in Europe and the implementation of Swedish NATO with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday.

One of the priority issues on the Swedish side that was discussed was what kind of support the United States could wait for Sweden to join NATO and be covered by the alliance’s joint protection.

– Then we discussed the naval presence, the air presence, the military presence, and dealing with cyber threats together. Here’s a plan of activities and exercises while putting in the gray area. And it’s very important for us that this is the case, because if this is the case where the Russian side intends to take something negative, we have “support” there in a good way, says Hultqvist.

Trinidad and Tobago: Does this mean we will see such a military presence in the near future?

– Yes, that’s how it will be.

‘Inconsistency in evaluation’

However, these are not security guarantees that apply to full NATO members.

– NATO guarantees are based on defensive planning where you are part of the collective defense, we are not doing that at the moment, but we are in the gray zone period. But the fact that the USA, Great Britain and other countries clearly state this is still a way of showing that we have “backup” if something happens. These concrete preparations that are now being made are further evidence of its seriousness and danger.

According to Hultqvist, the meeting with Lloyd Austin was marked by unanimity on the major issues.

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– We have a common view of the development in Russia, which we clearly see as an authoritarian and totalitarian society, which is against democratic Europe – and this is the basis, it is related to the struggle of values.

There is also consensus on the importance of support for Ukraine, Holtqvist states, and says that more support from Sweden is now being prepared.

– But we must get back to that point.

Turkey’s objections

The issue of Turkey’s opposition to Sweden and Finland’s NATO request was also raised between the two defense ministers. But Hultqvist does not want to delve into how the United States can help.

– I cannot tell you what we said on this point, but our ambition is to try to resolve this situation through dialogue. We want to manage this as quickly as possible, says Hultqvist.

Before meeting with Austin, Hultqvist met with members of the House and Senate – and the general impression is that there is “large and broad support” for Sweden’s bid in NATO.

– They want this to be decided in the American system as quickly as possible. I also realize they are willing to push from different directions for this to be the case, Hultqvist told TT.

Defense Secretary Peter Holtqvist (S) with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin outside the Pentagon in Washington. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP/TT

The flags of Sweden and the United States appeared on the cake at Wednesday's meeting at the Pentagon.

The flags of Sweden and the United States appeared on the cake at Wednesday’s meeting at the Pentagon. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP/TT