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Cablegate: Swedish Defense Minister Invitation to Gen. Mcchrystal

VZCZCXRO3618
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHSM #0585 2541426
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 111426Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0104
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4716
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L STOCKHOLM 000585

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2019
TAGS: PREL MOPS AF SW
SUBJECT: SWEDISH DEFENSE MINISTER INVITATION TO GEN. MCCHRYSTAL

Classified By: DCM Robert J. Silverman for reasons 1.4 (B) & (D).

1. (C) Summary: Swedish Minister of Defense Tolgfors very much hopes ISAF Commander General McChrystal will be able to attend a working dinner in Mazar-e Sharif on September 15, according to senior MOD officials. EU Special Representative to Afghanistan Sequi will attend the dinner, and UN Special Representative Kai Eide has also been invited. The Swedish MOD assesses that a dinner meeting of senior Swedish/EU, U.S./ISAF, possibly UN representatives would be very helpful in Sweden's efforts to build EU support for ISAF. Sweden wants the EU to generate more civilian resources, and ultimately more troops, for Afghanistan. End Summary.

Sweden Trying to Push EU to Do More in Afghanistan --------------------------------------------- -----

2. (C) Sweden is leading European efforts to draft a new EU Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategy that will emphasize a "whole of government" approach to success, Swedish MOD Policy Director Peter Gothe to Pol Counselor late on September 10. The security, development and political sides all need to be aligned and reinforce each other, he said, and so Sweden believes EU defense ministers and foreign ministers need to be "closely involved." Building public understanding and support for the international mission in Afghanistan will be key, and to do that EU Member States must first increase their civilian presence, especially through "an expanded EU presence in the provinces." After that, it will be easier to gain acceptance for increased military commitments, Gothe stated. In Sweden's case, the Ministry of Defense has proposed a increase in troop levels from the current 500 to 565 next year, and to 630 by 2011. It will be easier to sell these increases to the Swedish public if there is first an increase in the number of Swedish civilians in Afghanistan, he said.

EU Defense Ministerial 28-29 September
--------------------------------------

3. (C) On 28-29 September, the EU defense ministers will meet informally in Gothenburg, Sweden to discuss the EU Afghanistan strategy and "how it can be most helpful to ISAF," Gothe said. Sweden will use that meeting to "show solidarity" on the ISAF mission and to expand an EU-wide understanding that a holistic approach is vital to a successful outcome in Afghanistan. This approach is also vital to Sweden's goal of seeing an increased EU military commitment to Afghanistan, Gothe reiterated. To "justify" increases in troops, EU defense ministers will need to point to increases in civilian experts.

Dinner Invitation
-----------------

4. (C) Swedish Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors will be in Mazar-e Sharif September 15-16 to visit the Swedish PRT and attend the hand-over of command ceremony for Regional Command-North. He understands that GEN McChrystal will also attend the ceremony and has invited him, along with EU Special Representative to Afghanistan Sequi, to attend a working dinner at Camp Northern Lights on September 15. UN Special Representative Kai Eide has also been invited but may not be able to attend. The Swedes assess that a meeting of senior Swedish/EU, U.S./ISAF, and possibly UN representatives--with press coverage--would be very helpful to Sweden's efforts to get the EU to generate more civilian resources, and ultimately more troops, for Afghanistan.

Comment
-------

5. (C) This proposed dinner meeting might well help Sweden's efforts within the EU. It would certainly help Swedish Defense Minister Tolgfors and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in their efforts to expand Sweden's military and civilian presence in an increasingly violent area of Afghanistan. We agree with what Swedish Chief of Defense General Sverker Goranson recently told Defense Attache, that consultations with key U.S. actors earn Swedish leaders public credibility in their message of supporting the U.S. in Afghanistan. BARZUN

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