Tobias Billström (M): Membership in NATO is the overriding value

The moderate foreign minister , who was previously migration minister in the , says that he is currently recalibrating the foreign administration. Ahead of Prime Minister Kristersson’s meeting with Turkish President Erdoğan on Tuesday, Tobias Billström distances himself from the Kurdish militia in YPG and their political branch, the PYD party. They have long been allies of and the United States in the fight against IS in Syria. Sweden has previously supported the YPG and PYD, but the new has a different view of the two Kurdish organizations, which considers terrorists.

“We think that there is a dubiousness and problem regarding those who damage our relationship with Turkey. It is important that it is made clear that there will be no dubious contacts and there must be no uncertainty in this collaboration,” says Tobias Billström. Is the overriding value then Sweden’s relationship with Turkey right now? “The overriding value is Sweden’s membership in NATO and the importance of us achieving success in the negotiations that are ongoing between Turkey on the one hand and Sweden and on the other and that is important that we have a good relationship in these parts,” says Tobias Billström.

More focus on the local area in the new government’s foreign policy

Ukraine and Swedish NATO membership remain the most important priorities in Swedish foreign policy. But compared to the previous government, the new government wants to place greater emphasis on cooperation within the Nordic and Baltic and the EU. You have to prioritize and it’s not possible to be present everywhere, says Billström. Does that mean that the government will put less effort into the UN system? “When it comes to how we organize ourselves to take care of UN issues, I cannot rule out that there will be changes, but that is currently underway,” says Tobias Billström.

Guest: Tobias Billström (M), Minister of Foreign Affairs
Comment: Fredrik FurtenbachEkot’s political commentator
Host: Johar Bendjelloul
Producer: Maja Lagercrantz
Technician: Lotta Linde Rahr


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