A Newspaper Published by World Institute for Asian Studies. Powered by WIAS, Vol. 9 No. 12

Sweden’s Foreign (Ethnic) Minister Carl Bildt renews old ties with Hillary Clinton

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune – A News Review

Washington, D.C. 09 May ( When Sweden’s  Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt with US Secretary of State Clinton Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt with US Secretary of State ClintonForeign Minister Carl Bildt met U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on May 5, it was the renewal of old contact between the two: Bildt was prime minister of Sweden when Bill Clinton was president, and thereafter Bildt and President Clinton were deeply involved in ethnic issues in the Balkan region and nation building in that part of the world. The cordial relationship that existed between the Clintons and Bildt hold steady this time as Hillary and Carl handle foreign affairs in their respective nations.

Today the European Union is an important foreign policy plank of the Obama administration as it was during Clinton and Bush presidencies. And, Secretary of State Clinton will find it more comfortable dealing with the EU as Sweden is scheduled to head the EU for six months from July this year.

Bildt during his visit to Washington had a series of meetings with the Obama administration.

Clinton received her Swedish counterpart in the State Department to discuss Sweden’s coming European Union Presidency, climate issues, environmental negotiations as well as other political questions such as the situation in the Middle East, Iran, Russia and ‘other areas.’

The Swedish foreign minister also had discussions with Secretary of defense Robert Gates, Obama administration’s special envoy to Iraq and Afghanistan Richard Holbrook, National Security Advisor James Johns, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry and several others.

The Asian Tribune was made to understand that ‘other areas’ included elections in India and humanitarian situation and counter-terrorism offensive in Sri Lanka.

The Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt last week has had to cancel the trip he had planned to Sri Lanka along with his British and French counterparts after the government in Colombo said it would not receive him. Writing on his blog, Bildt said Sri Lanka had "not given any reason" for not accepting him. "No one seems to understand the reason for this very strange action. Everyone just shakes their heads."

Bildt maintains a personal ‘Blog’ in Sweden which is the most widely read one. Often it is driven into serious controversies that involve foreign nations.

He, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had planned to visit Sri Lanka in a bid to secure safety for civilians caught between government and rebel LTTE forces.

Miliband and Kouchner went on with their mission, while Bildt said he would take part in talks between the European Union and Russia in Luxembourg.

"To cancel the whole trip would not have not been responsible due to the serious humanitarian and political situation in Sri Lanka," Bildt said.

When Sweden takes over the Presidency of the European Union Sri Lanka will not have any option but dealing with that country whose foreign minister was barred from entering. And, Hillary Clinton who has already taken a somewhat tough stand on Sri Lanka in relation to the humanitarian situation will have a strengthened relationship with Sweden because of her personal close relationship and contact with Carl Bildt.

Carl Bildt is more than a foreign minister to his country. Most of his political career he has been involved in ethnic problems in the Balkan region, nation building in that region with the United States and humanitarian issues. Engrossed in those issues primarily the Minister of Foreign (Ethnic) Affairs is a more suitable title for him. It was this background that Bildt elected to join French and British foreign ministers to visit Sri Lanka.

The Asian Tribune wonders if Sri Lanka made the correct decision in preventing him from entering the country at this time when Carl Bildt has been in middle of many controversies in the past.

In 1995, Croatia declared Carl Bildt a persona non grata announcing that he had "lost the credibility necessary for the role of a peace mediator". Bildt had suggested that the President of Croatia, Franjo Tu?man was as guilty of war crimes as the Krajina Serb leader, Milan Marti?.

In June 2007, a preliminary investigation was started against Bildt for him not having deleted racist comments against Palestinians in his blog. One commentator had called Palestinians "devil's offspring" and "lesser standing than cockroaches" and another had written "give us 24 hours and all Palestinians are gone and we have 100 percent of Israel” Subsequently, no grounds were found for suspicions against Bildt in these regards.

Following his statements during the South Ossetian War, where he compared the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin to Hitler's Nazi Germany, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Bildt is no longer considered welcome in Moscow. Bildt also labeled Russia, Belarus, Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela as "miserable" countries.

On April 8, 2008, during his visit in Israel and Palestinian Authority, Bildt gave an interview to Swedish state radio, in the course of which he compared former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Hamas and proposed "to make peace without both". Israeli officials condemned the comparison.

Greeting Carl Bildt at the State Department last week Secretary of State Clinton said: "Pleasure to welcome the foreign minister of Sweden, who has been at the forefront of politics, both in Sweden and globally, for so many years. It’s a delight to have him. We have a great relationship with Sweden. We have had so many important issues that we have tackled together. Sweden will assume the presidency of the European Union, which will give an even greater emphasis to the leadership that Sweden shows on so many global concerns."

In reply the Swedish foreign minister said: "We have a spectacularly good bilateral relationship. But we also have, I think, one of the, or probably the most fruitful transatlantic relationship that I think we’ve had in living memory of an open and very constructive dialogue on what is, by all standards, an extremely challenging mutual agenda, where we need to move together on a lot of these issues. We’ve had x-numbers of meetings. There will be more. And as said, Sweden will be assuming the presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year, and the further strengthening of transatlantic cooperation, partnership, and dialogue on all sorts of issues will be very high up on our agenda."

Carl Bildt, 60, was Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 through 1994, and after his term as Prime Minister, Bildt was active as a mediator in the Balkans conflict, serving as the European Union Special Envoy to Former Yugoslavia from June 1995, Co-Chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference (during Bill Clinton presidency) in November 1995, and High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina from December 1995 to June 1997 immediately after the Bosnian War. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Balkans. He became Sweden’s foreign minister in October 2006.

In 1995, Croatia declared Carl Bildt a persona non grata announcing that he had "lost the credibility necessary for the role of a peace mediator". Bildt had suggested that the President of Croatia, Franjo Tu?man was as guilty of war crimes as the Krajina Serb leader, Milan Marti?.

In the official Swedish Foreign Ministry web site the following statement is prominently displayed:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." These are the opening words of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the Swedish Government, the task of strengthening human rights and respect for them has high priority. It is a task we pursue both in our political endeavours in Sweden and in our foreign policy. Human rights issues pervade most of our policy areas”.

- Asian Tribune -

He was so annoyed when Sri

He was so annoyed when Sri Lanka told him to delay his visit, he used his power as the foreign minister of Sweden to diplomatically harass Sri Lanka. How can such a character be a part of any serious effort. I don't think he should ever be a part of anything to do with the lives of Sri Lankas.

These visits and pats on the back, to and from Hilary Clinton seem to have a certain effect on people like Blidt and Solheim. These events are as cold as it can be.

Just think if not for their adventures in troubled nations they would not be known to anyone.

Raj Gonsalkorale You are

Raj Gonsalkorale You are expected to make your own comment and post and not expected to cite from another website. The relevant sentence is deleted - Administrator

At the center of this Sri Lankan flap that has captured international media interest is, of course, the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt. There’s, perhaps, no one less qualified than the 59-year old former Swedish prime minister to lead the call for a cessation of war, considering the role he played in pushing President George Bush’ s war agenda.

If President George Bush is to be tried for war crimes, then Bildt should not be too far behind since he was among the high profile members of a neocon group that aided and abetted the launching of the Iraq war – which, let’s not forget, killed 700,000 people in the name of ‘democracy.’

Bildt was a member of the hawkish Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), an NGO founded in 2003 by hardcore conservatives including CIA director James Woolsey. CLI described itself as a "distinguished group of Americans" who wanted to "free Iraq from Saddam Hussein" and whose goal was to "promote regional peace, political freedom and international security through replacement of the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations." In reality, the group was formed on the initiation of President Bush and served as his mouthpiece for shoring up public backing for sending troops into Iraq.

Bildt was also a member of another war-mongering group -the Project for the New American Century (PNAC ) – which was closely allied to the CLI and had as its governing mission the exaltation of the US‘ imperialistic militarism. President Bush is believed to have based his ‘global hegemony plan’ on the PNAC’s blueprint, which included the launching of ‘Pre-emptive wars’ if the U.S. believed a country was becoming too powerful and/or could provide some sort of competition in the "benevolent hegemony" region. The PNAC doctrine said mini nukes could be employed in regional wars, that international treaties and opinion could be ignored whenever they interfere with U.S. imperial goals and that the new policies "will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia."

Bildt was among the 225 signatories to the PNAC doctrine which automatically guaranteed a permanent and expensive arms race with Communist China, North Korea and Iran.

Oil Interests

Bildt waxes eloquent in his blogs on humanitarian issues, but the acquisition of wealth through oil is undoubtedly the central theme of his life – which may have been one of his motives in supporting the destruction of the Saddam regime. In 2007, following a complaint from the Green Party, Swedish prosecutor Christer van der Kwast launched an investigation into Bildt’s shares in the gas and oil investment company Vostok Nafta, is tied to Gazprom, the Russian gas export monopoly. The investigation ended without prosecution, but Bildt’s interest in oil has a more explosive little secret, tied up in the sands of Sudan and an oil company called Lundin Petroleum, which is 40% Swedish owned.

Bildt was a board director of Lundin for several years until October 2006 when he resigned after becoming foreign minister. Human rights and aid organizations accused Lundin of large-scale displacement and destruct ion, as well as of hiding the reality of the armed conflict going on in an exploratory area called Block 5A, where the construction of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC) pipeline to the red sea was taking place. In 1999, the World Food Program put out an SOS stating it feared “a worsening humanitarian crisis’ as it was unable to deliver urgent relief assistance to tens of thousands of people trapped by the fighting.

In 2001, Christian Aid, a London-based charity funding relief, education, health, and community-building activities in southern Sudan, issued a report, The Scorched Earth: Oil and war in Sudan quoting evidence from victims about Sudanese government troops and militias burning and depopulating the entire length of Lundin’s oil road in 2000 in order to make way for Lundin’s operations. Christian Aid also demanded that Carl Bildt who was on the Lundin board at the time resign as U.N. Special Envoy to the Balkans saying his position as a U.N. peacemaker was incompatible with his ties to Lundin Oil which did business with the Sudanese government, which was gaining notoriety for human rights violations.

Backed by an indifferent Swedish government, Bildt refused to resign from the Lundin board or his U.N. peace position, and instead countered his critics with press releases. Lundin would eventually respond to the Christian Aid report with an expression of concern, saying “the company has not witnessed the acts alleged and would not accept violations of human rights within its sphere of operations.” It said it would monitor the situation and look further into the allegations. It stated that its environmental impact study contained information indicating low density population settlements in the area It did not reveal when the study was done, nor if its activities or army operations had any impact on these people whose presence was admitted.

Unconfirmed reports say Bildt still owns shares in Lundin – but don’t check his blogs – there’s no admission of his ugly ties to Sudan – a country whose name is synonymous with dark human rights violations.

These are people who want to

These are people who want to create "western colonialism" in a different form. They want the leadersship of the world in their hands , keeping developing countries and undevelopped countries under their control.

Kouchner is also a divisionist. The press conference given by Kouchner and Miliband was evidence of their intentions.

Anything this man touches

Anything this man touches disintegrates immediately. We shouldn't touch this man even with a hundred feet long pole.

Judging from what I read in

Judging from what I read in this article, Carl Bildt is a very controversial figure. I can now understand the reasons why he was not all that welcome in Sri Lanka.

He also seem to have double standards. He stands for division of countries where it suited the West and failed to promote the division of South Ossetian because it was not supported by West.

Clearly, people with double standards do not get anywhere amongst perace-loving Sri Lankans. Whether he is the President of EU or any other country is not the most important criteria.

Is he a gentleman? Is he genuinely interested in peace? Does he understand the local issues? Is he against terrorism of all kind? These are some of factors we consider as important to us.