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Joint Statement by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister John Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden

September 04, 2013

Sweden and the United States are very special friends. Today we reaffirmed the dedication of the Kingdom of Sweden and the United States of America to enhance our cooperation across the full range of shared economic, environmental, and security challenges. We agreed that our close cooperation, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, is derived from shared values such as democracy, the respect for human rights, and the rule of law.

This is a special year in the relationship between Sweden and the United States, as it marks 375 years since the establishment of the first Swedish settlement "New Sweden" in the United States and 230 years since the first free trade agreement between our countries was signed. Today over four million Americans claim Swedish heritage. Business ties flourish between our countries. And our work together around the world magnifies the positive impact we can have when facing common challenges in pursuit of our shared agenda.

We confirmed our determination to continue to promote growth and jobs, counter climate change and accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future, expand trade and investment, work for international peace and security, and promote global development, conflict prevention, and disarmament. President Obama expressed his appreciation to the Prime Minister for arranging the dinner with regional leaders, allowing for consultations with Nordic colleagues on a number of shared challenges.

We looked forward to the opportunity to commemorate Raoul Wallenberg this afternoon and pay tribute to a man who chose not to be indifferent and to rise to a higher moral calling. We remember and revere Raoul Wallenberg and his courageous deeds saving thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.

We noted that climate change and its consequences are defining challenges of our time. The United States and Sweden are determined to take actions to counter climate change and promote clean energy, domestically and internationally, including through the UN climate negotiations, while driving continued economic growth.

Today we reinforced our support for the efforts of the Swedish-American Green Alliance (SAGA) to further enhance our cooperation to enable the transition to a sustainable energy future. The priorities of SAGA are developing smart grids to ensure efficient transmission of electricity, developing renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing sustainable cities, and cooperation to facilitate innovation and commercialization of sustainable energy technologies. As founding members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Sweden and the United States are pleased that the Coalition, as a complement to the work on long-lived climate pollutants, is already working to catalyze significant global reductions of short-lived climate pollutants. We agreed to redouble our efforts and invite others to join to take full advantage of the Coalition's potential, including through innovative approaches to financing methane abatement.

Sweden and the United States share a commitment to promoting growth and jobs through actions to strengthen global demand. Fiscal strategies should be adapted to economic conditions and to available fiscal space. We share a commitment to advancing financial reform to build a more resilient global financial system.

We discussed the significance of the launch of the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). T-TIP aims to boost economic growth in the United States and in the EU and add to the more than 13 million American and EU jobs already supported by transatlantic trade and investment. We also reaffirmed our support for the multilateral trading system through our efforts within the WTO to liberalize trade in services and environmental goods and to strengthen trade facilitation. This will not only bring new jobs and growth to both continents, but also even further strengthen the political and economic partnership. Global economic recovery, growth, and combating poverty are shared goals. To achieve these goals, Sweden and the United States agree on the importance of further trade liberalisation and opening of markets.

Sweden and the United States stress the importance of the work of the Arctic Council. We look forward to increasing our cooperation to protect and conduct research on the Arctic environment, improving living conditions, and encouraging sustainable development in the Arctic, particularly with respect to indigenous communities.

We reiterated our determination to continue working together to promote peace and security around the world. Our cooperation within the United Nations on peacekeeping, as well as partnership in NATO-led missions such as ISAF and KFOR, contribute to a more peaceful, secure world. We are committed to developing the relationship between NATO and Partner countries further. Sweden and the United States are leaders in advancing the critical role of women in achieving international peace and security. Sweden has generously offered the Nordic Center for Gender in Military Operations for NATO use, and the United States has committed to provide support for the center's training and education efforts.

We reaffirmed our commitment to seeking a world without nuclear weapons, supporting ongoing efforts on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We welcome the achievements made through the Nuclear Security Summits to secure nuclear material and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.

We agreed that development and humanitarian aid are strategic, economic, and moral imperatives. We are committed to aggressive efforts to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals before 2015. Achieving real results in people's lives constitutes our greatest chance to make a difference. We will reinforce our efforts to improve child and maternal health. We recognize that the eradication of extreme poverty is the core of our future global development. We envision a common post-2015 agenda that sets clear, ambitious, and measurable goals to meet the social, economic, and environmental needs of the eight billion people who will inhabit the planet by 2030.

We affirmed our joint commitment to protect the human rights of LGBT persons globally through support to the Global Equality Fund. Launched in 2011, the Fund assists civil society organizations in over 25 countries worldwide. The United States and Sweden are each preparing a $6 million contribution of new resources to support the Fund over three years, totaling a $12 million commitment.

We emphasized our support for the EU's Eastern Partnership as a means to help address economic challenges in the region, promote the EU integration of the Eastern European partner countries, and develop democracy, respect for human rights, and rule of law.

We recognized the importance of regional cooperation, including with the Baltic states.

Sweden and the United States are continuing our collaboration on other common foreign policy areas. Today we have, among other things, discussed the situations in Syria and Egypt. We are determined to work together to promote respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Egypt. With regard to the situation in Syria, we strongly condemn any and all use of chemical weapons. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

We share the goal of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, resulting in two independent and democratic states living side by side in peace and security. Sweden and the United States welcome and support the decision by Israel and the Palestinians to resume final status negotiations, and encourage the parties to continue engaging in good faith negotiations towards this shared goal.

We remain gravely concerned about Iran's nuclear program and urge Iran to comply with all its international obligations, including full implementation by Iran of UN Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors resolutions. We reaffirm our commitment to work toward a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue in accordance with the dual track approach.

We urge North Korea to deescalate tensions on the Korean peninsula, commit to irreversible steps leading to denuclearization, and comply with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and other international agreements. President Obama expressed his gratitude to the Kingdom of Sweden for serving as the United States' protecting power in North Korea.

This historic first bilateral visit of an American president to Sweden underscores not only the importance of the U.S.-Sweden relationship, but also the bonds between the United States and all the Nordic countries and the globally significant relationship between America and Europe.

NOTE: An original was not available for verification of the content of this joint statement.

Barack Obama, Joint Statement by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister John Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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