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MILITARY

Swedish Armed Forces cuts troops and bases

The Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) has proposed to scale down the country's domestic defences, closing at least one air force base, eliminating one troop regiment and halving training resources for home defences.

Swedish Armed Forces cuts troops and bases

The reductions will lead to 800 million kronor ($112 million) in savings, which will be invested in the military’s transition to a professional army, according to a report from Sveriges Radio (SR).

In July 2010 Sweden’s compulsory military service scheme will come to an end and be replaced by a voluntary system, which is not expected to require the same training resources.

“We have a certain over capacity and can carry out our activities in fewer locations,” General Lieutenant Jan Salestrand told SR.

“We have not yet started identifying where they should be.”

The government has been criticized for plans to close air force bases and regiments, which opponents say will leave the country vulnerable to an attack. A freeze on any closures was ordered until after the general election in September.

However analysts speculate that the most likely candidates for closure will be the F17 air force base in Ronneby in southern Sweden as well as troop regiments in southern and western regions. Northern Sweden is expected to keep the F21 base in Luleå, which hosted Nato war games last year.

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NATO

Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.

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