Wednesday 19 June 2024 - 10:39

Sweden Opens Doors to US Troops, Possibly Nukes

Story Code : 1142589
Sweden Opens Doors to US Troops, Possibly Nukes
Critics have blasted the agreement for not explicitly barring US nuclear weapons from being deployed in the Nordic country, RT reported.

The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was signed between Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in December of last year, but needed parliamentary approval to take effect.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in Stockholm overwhelmingly backed the DCA, with 266 members of parliament voting in favor and 37 against, while 46 were absent. As a high-stakes vote, a three-quarters supermajority with more than half of lawmakers present was required for the bill to pass.

The agreement was opposed by the Left and Green parties, who argued that the terms should explicitly state that Sweden would not host nuclear weapons.

“We want to see legislation that bans nuclear weapons from being brought onto Swedish soil,” Green Party MP Emma Berginger said in parliament during Tuesday’s proceedings, arguing that the pact “doesn’t close the door to nuclear weapons.”

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association, a major anti-war non-profit organization, slammed the move as one that increases tensions and security risks for Sweden, claiming it betrays voters’ expectations for a nuclear-free nation.

“Unlike in Norway and Denmark’s DCA pacts, the Swedish agreement contains no reservation against nuclear weapons,” the group’s leader, Kerstin Bergea, wrote in an op-ed after the vote. Sweden's neighbor Finland, which joined NATO in 2022, has a national law barring nuclear weapons from its territory, and their DCA pact with the US refers to it, Bergea pointed out.

Sweden, a member of the US-led military bloc since March, will allow American troops, vehicles and aircraft unimpeded passage across the country. The Pentagon will also be allowed to set up its own facilities at existing Swedish military bases. The presence of US personnel will be regulated by the US rather than local laws.

Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that numerous waves of NATO expansion have made Europe less safe.

Moscow has no territorial disputes or points of tension with the bloc’s new members Sweden or Finland, he stressed, while acknowledging that NATO military infrastructure will no doubt be hosted on their soil. Stockholm and Helsinki “understand this would lead to consequences for their own security,” he said.