‘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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POLL: Swedes say ‘too many sacrifices’ made for Nato membership

A majority of Swedes believe their country made "too many sacrifices" to become a member of Nato, but agreed Sweden's security would be strengthened, a poll released on Friday showed.

POLL: Swedes say 'too many sacrifices' made for Nato membership

Sweden is on track to become the 32nd member of the military alliance within days, after last holdout Hungary ratified its bid on Monday.

Ending two centuries of military non-alignment, the Nordic country applied for Nato membership along Finland in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to a poll conducted by analyst firm Indikator for Swedish broadcaster SR, 55 percent of Swedes believe that the Scandinavian  country “has made too many sacrifices to join Nato”.

Meanwhile, 77 percent believe that “Sweden’s security is strengthened” by its membership.

The survey polled 2,413 people during February, but no questions were asked about the type of sacrifices people took issue with.

The results show that Swedes see “the Nato process for the complicated issue it has been,” Per Oleskog Tryggvason, head of research at Indikator, told AFP.

“The opinion that Sweden’s security is strengthened by Nato membership, for that there is an overwhelming consensus. But you can see that the road there has not been straightforward,” Oleskog Tryggvason said.

Sweden’s bid primarily faced opposition from Turkey which accused the Nordic country of providing a safe haven for dozens of suspects it believes are linked to a failed 2016 coup attempt and Kurdish separatists.

Sweden came to an agreement with Turkey in 2022, committing to consider its extradition requests and to lift an arms embargo dating to Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into Syria.

It also amended its constitution in order to beef up anti-terror legislation.