Sweden Awaits Obama
To Visit (But Why Now?)
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OBAMA to Vist Syria As Sweden Swills in Face of Refugee Issue --
Free trade and climate police are at the top of the agenda for Barack Obama's visit to Sweden next week, a trip meant to symbolize the strength of US-Swedish relations, but which is overshadowed by speculation about imminent military strikes in Syria . .
Our own USA officials are starting to question all this now . . . (read)
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has said the government must address the US-run prison Guantanamo Bay prison during the upcoming visit to Sweden by US President Barack Obama . .
"We of course have questions about Guantanamo and privacy questions following Snowden," Löfven told the TT news agency. "These are very important questions that should be discussed between countries that have good relations.
"While the government announced on Thursday that it would not release any further details of Obama's upcoming visit at present, Swedish political scientist Jan Joel Andersson told The Local this week that it was unlikely that the prison camp on the US Naval Base in Cuba commonly referred to as "Gitmo" would be discussed, although Stockholm does have human rights concerns concerning the US.
Löfven, meanwhile, also took the opportunity to praise the the US president for his focus on restoring American industry, and spurring the growth in employment.
"He talks about re-industrializing the US, creating jobs and hope for the future," Löfven said. "Ahead of the G20 meeting, it is important to have a strategy for jobs creation and to make sure that the global economic benefits everyone, not like it is today with big imbalances."
Löfven said the Swedish model, based on the Saltsjöbaden Deal penned in 1938 between employers and trade unions, could serve as inspiration for an international agreement between workers and capital owners.
And then last Friday, the first EU government to accept Syrian refugees, Sweden - released a draft of Obama's schedule for his roughly 24-hour sojourn in the Swedish capital.
Some are asking, "Why Obama is going there right now?" and "What is America up to this time?" also, "Does this have anything to do with a possible strike by USA?" (This is what we found and now it's your turn to -- read..)
In addition to bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Obama is set to dine with King Carl XVI Gustaf before heading onto St. Petersberg, Russia, to attend the G20 summit.
Speaking with The Local earlier this month, Reinfeldt noted free trade, specifically negotiations for a new US-European trade deal known as Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as one of his "key priorities" when he meets with Obama on September.
"I think Sweden is playing a crucial role in those discussions given that we are one of the strongest proponents of free trade in Europe," he told The Local, praising the Obama administration for showing a willingness to move forward with the talks.
"It's been very interesting to follow the debate in the US because there isn't always a clear free trade agenda there. They are also often protectionist in their approach at times," Reinfeldt explained.
"So I very much welcome the reaction from the White House and from President Obama that they were ready to open up for these negotiations. It was an important signal.
"Linking growth and trade to sustainability and to action on the climate will also be my main interests in the talks [with Obama]."
Finance Minister Anders Borg also cited Sweden's decidedly pro-free trade stance in the TTIP negotiations as an important aspect in the currently cozy US-Sweden relationship.
"I think Sweden is playing a crucial role in those discussions given that we are one of the strongest proponents of free trade in Europe," he told The Local earlier this month. "We have a very large export industry with the US being a very important market to it will be one of our key priorities."
Moreover, Sweden's export-oriented economy stands to reap the benefits of new US-EU trade deal, Reinfeldt added.
We hear what others are saying -- But what do you say ? ? ?
In other news today --- Syria May Be the First (and only) EU Country to Accept Syrian Refugees as Full Citizens . . . [ click ]