Utrikesministerns tal vid NSS Sherpamiddag den 16 februari, Vasamuséet
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Stockholm.
I am particularly pleased to be hosting the dinner here at the Vasa Museum – an opportunity for us as hosts to give you a glimpse into Swedish history. Sitting here next to the majestic royal warship Vasa, one cannot overlook the fact that throughout its history, Sweden has been a nation that has fought many wars. Swedish history from the 17th century to the present day can be summed up in three words: war, peace and progress. In 2014 we marked a milestone in Swedish history, as we celebrated 200 years of unbroken peace.
When King Gustav II Adolf commissioned the Vasa in 1625, he wanted it to be the most powerful warship in the world, a 'weapon of mass destruction' of its time. When we talk about the Vasa as a great warship, we often hear the question "Really?". Yes it did not get very far, and yes it was blown over by a light breeze. But for the record, many lessons were learned and the innovative craftsmanship did ultimately result in two-decker warships that sailed the world during the latter part of the 17th century, and throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
But on a more serious note, you have all gathered here in Stockholm to prepare for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. Our countries will continue to discuss, at the highest level, how to make our world safer – this is history in the making.
Sweden is strongly committed to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. And these weapons must never be used again. A terrorist acquiring such a weapon would be a nightmare. As stated by President Obama in his historic Prague speech in April 2009, securing all vulnerable nuclear material must be an immediate priority.
Over the past decades, Sweden has worked continuously to improve nuclear security and safety at home, as well as in our neighbourhood. This cooperation began as long ago as the early 1990s, with Lithuania. And we have subsequently continued, notably through cooperation with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. We have emphasised the importance of international cooperation, transparency and active information-sharing to build confidence in the effectiveness of nuclear security and other non-proliferation measures.
For Sweden, it is important to make sure that all nuclear and radioactive materials are covered by security efforts – highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium, civilian and military material.
Much has been achieved since the first summit in Washington in 2010. But there is still work to be done. It is crucial that we uphold our strong commitment to improving nuclear security and to creating additional barriers to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and material. Political leaders and experts alike must make sure that the Nuclear Security Summit process maintains its legitimacy and results in lasting, concrete progress.
I wish you every success with your deliberations over the next few days. Your efforts are of the utmost importance to international peace and security.
Contributing to multilateral efforts to maintain international peace and security is in the DNA of Sweden. Sweden therefore stands ready to serve on the Security Council for the period 2017–2018.
Let me also take the opportunity to thank the US Government, in particular the US Sherpa Laura Holgate and her team, for their leadership, dedication and hard work.
And I would like to conclude by saying that I look forward to participate in the Summit in Washington next month.