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Sweden concludes military agreement with the USA

The young NATO member Sweden has signed a defense agreement with the USA. US troops will be allowed to train and use infrastructure on Swedish soil in the future. Critics are concerned that nuclear weapons could also be stored there.

The Swedish parliament has approved a controversial agreement on military cooperation with NATO partner the USA. After a long debate, 266 MPs voted for the agreement and 37 against. The resolution regulates the conditions for a US military presence in Sweden.

In December, the two countries agreed on the defense agreement. According to this agreement, US troops are allowed to use 17 military facilities in Sweden. These include military airfields and naval bases as well as locations for ground troops scattered throughout the country. The US is now allowed to deploy military personnel and equipment and to conduct exercises there.

Concern about the stationing of nuclear weapons

Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson expressed his satisfaction: The agreement creates much better conditions for support from the USA in the event of a crisis or war, broadcaster SVT quoted him as saying. The agreement contributes to stability throughout Northern Europe, said Jonson.

Critics fear that the decision could lead to the stationing of nuclear weapons in Sweden and permanent US military bases in the country. The government, however, pointed out that Sweden's position of not allowing nuclear weapons on Swedish soil in peacetime is known and respected.

NATO accession with hurdles

Sweden only became a member of NATO on March 7, after a nearly two-year stalemate. The Scandinavian country had applied for membership in May 2022 under the impression of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and at that time still hoped to be able to join the following summer.

However, alliance members Turkey and Hungary held up the accession process for more than a year. Together with Sweden, Finland also applied for NATO membership in 2022. The country was welcomed into the alliance as the 31st member in April last year.

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