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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Sweden Special Weapons

During the Cold War Sweden retained its traditional policy of armed neutrality. Even its abortive effort to establish a Scandinavian defense organization in 1949 was merely an effort to expand the geographic scope of armed neutrality. Sweden has established an advanced civil defense and maintained reasonably effective military forces, particularly air forces, based largely on Sweden’s own industrial and natural resources and financed by a relatively high defense budget. These forces are by far the most effective military forces in Scandinavia. The Swedish defense effort undoubtedly has strengthened Sweden’s position in dealing with the Soviet Bloc. By the late 1950s Sweden was incorporating missiles into its defense system.

Today a key component of Swedish foreign policy is to safeguard existing treaties and agreements. Sweden is also working, particularly within the framework of the EU, to encourage all states to accede to existing treaties (universalisation), and to get a sufficient number of states to ratify treaties so that they can enter into force (e.g. the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty). Sweden attaches great importance to international regulations and supports the work of international organisations. This is reflected in the fact that Sweden was a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors from 2004-2007, and is currently a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Executive Council. These bodies are responsible for control activities that are a very important part of non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.

To facilitate international cooperation regarding non-proliferation, a number of multilateral export control regimes are in place, each with some forty countries participating: the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Zangger Committee (ZC), the Australia Group (AG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA). These regimes identify goods and technologies that could be misused for the production of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery (dual-use products), and the export of which should be controlled in a coordinated manner by the participating countries.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is based on an overall agreement called the 'grand bargain' between the states that had nuclear weapons at the end of the 1960s and other states. Under this agreement, nuclear weapon states committed themselves to negotiate in good faith on effective measures for nuclear disarmament in exchange for commitments by the non-nuclear weapon states to refrain from trying to obtain nuclear weapons. It is important that both these commitments are fulfilled. Sweden consistently emphasises the need for balanced progress in both areas in the form of genuine disarmament of nuclear weapons and effective measures to prevent proliferation to new states.

In 2003, the EU adopted a strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (link). The strategy is being implemented through such means as providing contributions to organisations and projects (such as support to the IAEA, CTBTO, OPCW, Security Council Resolution 1540 and the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation), and by adding a non-proliferation clause to cooperation agreements between the EU and third countries. In 2008, the EU agreed on an action plan against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery (link), which builds further on the strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is intended that the action plan be implemented by the end of 2010.

Sweden and the EU take an active role in work with the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. The code entails a political commitment to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles and related technology without this preventing states from possessing launchers for civilian space programmes. The EU supports the code through a joint measure that involves arranging seminars and outreach activities.

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Page last modified: 21-09-2012 16:29:19 ZULU