Former Swedish premier Carl Bildt will serve as foreign minister in the country's new center-right government, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Friday.
Bildt, a U.N. special envoy to the Balkans between 1999 and 2001, led a coalition government in Sweden in the early 1990s. He co-chaired the Dayton peace talks and served as the international envoy to postwar Bosnia.
Reinfeldt, whose four-party alliance won Sept. 17 parliamentary elections, ending 12 years of Social Democratic rule, reserved the top Cabinet posts for his Moderate Party, including the finance, defense and justice portfolios.
Bildt's appointment surprised many observers, as he had previously hinted that he was not interested in the post.
"That was a real surprise," said opposition Green Party leader Peter Eriksson.
Reinfeldt, 41, said the government will slash income taxes by 37 billion kronor (euro4 billion; US$5.1 billion) in 2007 and push for further expansion of the European Union.
Sweden will become a driving force in EU cooperation and step up its commitment to international peacemaking efforts, Reinfeldt said in his government declaration to Parliament.
The government, which takes office Friday, will also work toward alleviating world poverty and protect human rights, Reinfeldt said, singling out the Darfur crisis as "one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes of our time."