The two states are negotiating a legal framework concerning the presence of American soldiers on Swedish soil
The United States and Sweden have begun talks on a new security agreement to govern future US troops in the country, which applied to join the NATO bloc last year in response to Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Defense gave an account of the negotiations in a statement on Monday, said officials are now working out the details of a defense cooperation agreement (DCA), which the ministry called a “natural development of Sweden’s and the USA’s long-term cooperation in the field of security and defence.”
“The USA is Sweden’s most important security and defense policy partner, both bilaterally and within NATO.” It said. “By creating the conditions for an American presence in Sweden, including in the form of exercises, our security is strengthened.”
In addition “regulate the legal conditions for the presence of American forces in Sweden”, DCA will also cover other issues, such as “access to base areas, pre-stocking of materiel”, and taxes and duties as they apply to future U.S. troops.
The US State Department marked the ongoing talks with a statement own, Sweden dubs one “valued defense partner” while arguing that DCA would “deepen our close security partnership, enhance our cooperation in multilateral security operations and together strengthen transatlantic security.”
The new agreement will build on previous security pacts in 2016 and 2018 – the latter of which involved a trilateral agreement between the US, Sweden and Finland – and comes as both Stockholm and Helsinki aim to join the NATO military alliance sometime this year.
The two Nordic states applied for membership last May, both citing new security concerns in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, quickly securing approval from most of the US-led bloc. Turkey and Hungary are the two remaining stops, but Ankara claims that Sweden and Finland have not done enough to fight Kurdish terrorist organizations.
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Moscow has repeatedly called for NATO’s continued eastward expansion, claiming the alliance is trying to surround Russia with Western air bases, nuclear-capable bombers and missile launchers, among other strategic hardware. But while Russian President Vladimir Putin previously said his country “have no problem” with Stockholm or Helsinki, Russia has nevertheless promised to adjust its military posture in its northern region if the bloc admits two new members.