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Former premier Carl Bildt appointed Sweden's foreign minister

Former premier Carl Bildt appointed Sweden's foreign minister

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.
"Sweden has a role to play, especially ... in building the European Union as a force of peace, cooperation and freedom in the world," Bildt said.
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 also tapped Liberal Party member Nyamko Sabuni as migration minister, making her Sweden's first black Cabinet member.
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.
"Sweden shall have a more active foreign policy, and take bigger responsibility for human rights, freedom, security, democracy, welfare and sustainable development in the world," he said.
He said "special measures will be made to promote democracy in dictatorships like Cuba and Belarus," although he did not provide details.
Reinfeldt also called for the EU to implement a long-term strategy for cooperation with Russia, and said Sweden will push for a "strategic energy cooperation" between the EU, China and India in order to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
However, he did not mention Iraq or Afghanistan in his 50-minute speech.
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."
Other key Cabinet appointments included Moderate Party members Anders Borg as finance minister, Mikael Odenberg as defense minister and Beatrice Ask as justice minister.
From the other coalition parties, Center Party leader Maud Olofsson was appointed trade minister, while Liberal Party leader Lars Leijonborg was made education minister. Goran Hagglund, leader of the Christian Democrats, will serve as minister of social affairs.


Updated : 2021-05-17 00:15 GMT+08:00