Swedish MPs vote on US defense deal amid nuclear fears

Swedish lawmakers vote Tuesday on a controversial defense deal with the United States, which critics fear could lead to the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent U.S. bases on Swedish soil.

The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) is a major step for a country that in March ended two centuries of neutrality to join NATO.

Signed by Stockholm and Washington in December, the deal would give the U.S. access to 17 military bases and training areas in Sweden, and allow the storage of weapons, military equipment and ammunition in the country.

Opponents say the agreement should state outright that the Scandinavian country will not allow nuclear weapons on its territory.

"The agreement has no limits," argued Daniel Hellden, co-leader of the opposition Green Party, which together with the Left Party opposes the DCA agreement.

"It opens up nuclear weapons on Swedish soil... And it is so vaguely written that the government could even allow them in peacetime," he told SR public radio on Monday.

"We're going to be a target for nuclear weapons. We're going to have 17 bases where the Americans can store material," he added.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's centre-right minority government, propped up by the far-right Sweden Democrats, has insisted the deal respects Swedish sovereignty.

"Sweden is a sovereign nation and it will always be Sweden that decides what type of weapons we allow," Defense Minister Pal Jonson told SR.

"Parliament has already agreed that we will never need permanent bases or nuclear weapons on Swedish territory and that was specified in our NATO accession," he added.


For the bill to pass Tuesday, it has to win a 75 percent...

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