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UN

‘The war must end now’: UN Sec-Gen meets Swedish PM in Stockholm

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres met Sweden's Prime Minister in Stockholm on Wednesday, ahead of the conference marking the 50th anniversary of the city's historic environment summit .

'The war must end now': UN Sec-Gen meets Swedish PM in Stockholm
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (R) and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres give a press conference at the Prime Minister's residency in Stockholm on June 1, 2022. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/ AFP

After a bilateral meeting with Magdalena Andersson on the security situation in Europe, Guterres warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to a global food crisis that would hurt some of the world’s most vulnerable people. 

“It is causing immense suffering, destruction and devastation of the country. But it also inflames a three-dimensional global crisis in food, energy and finance that is pummelling the most vulnerable people, countries and economies,” the Portuguese diplomat told a joint press conference with Andersson. 

He stressed the need for “quick and decisive action to ensure a steady flow of food and energy,” including “lifting export restrictions, allocating surpluses and reserves to vulnerable populations and addressing food price increases to calm market volatility.”

Between the two, Russia and Ukraine produce around 30 percent of the global wheat supply.

Guterres was in Stockholm to take part in the Stockholm 50+ conference, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. 

The conference, which was held on the suggestion of the Swedish government in 1972 was the first UN meeting to discuss human impacts on the global environment, and led to the establishment of the UN Environment Program (UNEP). 

At the joint press conference, Andersson said that discussions continued between Sweden and Turkey over the country’s continuing opposition to Sweden’s application to join the Nato security alliance. 

“We have held discussions with Turkey and I’m looking forward to continuing the constructive meetings with Turkey in the near future,” she said, while refusing to go into detail on Turkey’s demands. 

“We are going to take the demands which have been made of Sweden directly with them, and the same goes for any misunderstandings which have arisen,” she said. 

At the press conference, Guterres condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as “a violation of its territorial integrity and a violation of the UN Charter”.

“The war must end now,” he said. 

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SWEDEN AND TURKEY

Turkey summons Swedish envoy over ‘insulting’ Erdogan TV satire

Turkey on Wednesday summoned the Swedish ambassador after a TV satire called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "a fool" and "grumpy", joked that his farts had caused the Nord Stream bubbles, and depicted him bending over in his underwear.

Turkey summons Swedish envoy over 'insulting' Erdogan TV satire

“The Turkish foreign ministry summoned today the Swedish ambassador to Ankara, Staffan Herrstrom, because of a broadcast on Swedish television (SVT) that contained insulting statements and images against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” news agency Anadolu said.

In the dressing down, Herrstrom was told that the “impertinent and ugly expression and images” about Erdogan and Turkey were unacceptable. 

On Friday, Kristoffer Ahonen Appelquist, the host of the satire show Svenska Nyheter on Swedish state broadcaster SVT called on the Swedish-Kurdish comic Kadir Meral, who for several minutes ridiculed Erdogan in Kurdish, finishing with what looked like a homophobic slur. 

At the same time Ahonen Appelquist, called Erdogan dåre, Swedish for “a fool”. 

The title of the episode, Vetoturken, or “the veto Turk”, was already offensive, as it use the “X-turken” format often used for racist Swedish meme videos (such as Pizzaturken, Bussturken, etc).  

In the episode, Ahonen Appelquist at first ridicules Erdogan for his campaign theme song, then covers a woman who was imprisoned for calling Erdogan “grumpy” on Twitter, and talks of Turkeys 38,000 political prisoners, and lack of a free press.

He then covered the agreement struck at the Nato Madrid summit, and why allowing Swedish weapons exports to Turkey might mean they are used to wage war on Kurds in northern Syria, and how Erdogan is demanding Sweden send back ordinary Kurdish journalists who he sees as “terrorists”. 

“It’s just ridiculous,” Ahonen Appelquist says. “He doesn’t even like them [the Kurds], and we do! And we use the Kurds for things, like culture and politics and Sommarprat [the Summer broadcasts from celebrities on Swedish radio] and stuff.” 

He then brings on Meral, who joked that the bubbles from Nordstream were from Erdogan farting, calls him “grumpy” (thereby repeating the mild insult which had someone jailed), ridicules him for balding, and then attacks his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Finally, he says, “Erdogan, you think you are a Sultan, but really you are like a Sultan bed from Ikea, which stands on all fours in the bedroom.” 

Then there’s a picture of Erdogan bent over in his underwear. 

“But you know what, in Sweden, we think that that kind of thing is totally OK,” Meral ends. 

You can see the episode (in Swedish) here. 

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