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SECNAV Emphasizes Presence, Partnerships During Visit to Sweden

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS140610-05
Release Date: 6/10/2014 11:45:00 AM

From Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus spoke at the People and Defense Forum during a visit to Sweden June 9, highlighting the importance of naval presence and international partnerships.

'Presence helps deter potential conflicts, while it avoids escalating the situation when tensions rise,' he said, 'and Naval presence is persistent. As a result, it offers leaders options from supporting diplomacy to providing stronger measures.'

In addressing the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps' commitment to our European partners, Mabus referenced the National Defense strategy, saying that despite its call for a new focus on the Western Pacific and Indian oceans it also calls 'for renewing our partnerships around the world and, therefore, our commitment to Europe.'

Mabus went on to explain the effects of this continued focus on cooperation with our European partners.

'This will mean more pre-positioned equipment to respond to crises, more exercises and more interaction with our partners,' he said. 'We are taking these steps not as a threat to anyone, but instead to defend the security and democracy of ourselves and our friends.'

Mabus also addressed the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and its European partners as well as the benefits these partnerships provide all nations involved.

'The bonds between America and Europe, our common heritage and our shared values, remain as strong today as ever,' said Mabus. 'The world is safer, more secure and more successful when Europe and the United States stand together and when we stand with those, who like us, seek to advance the cause of freedom and mutual respect.'

During his remarks, Mabus also addressed the issue of alternative energy.

'We are collaborating with Sweden on the use of Swedish biofuels in the engine used in both the Swedish Air Force's Gripen and the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet,' he said. 'Sweden has an important place in the world's alternative energy industry and your [Sweden's] contributions to this greater security challenge are vital.'

While in Stockholm, Mabus also took time to meet with Marines at the U.S. embassy as well as U.S. ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski, Sweden's Minister of Defense Karin Enstrom, Sweden's State Secretary to the Prime Minister Gunnar Wieslander, and the Chief of Staff of the Sweden's Royal Navy Rear Admiral Jan Thornqvist.

Mabus' stop in Sweden is part of a multi-nation visit to the U.S. European and Africa Command areas of responsibility focused on reinforcing existing partnerships and visiting Sailors and Marines providing forward presence.

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