Sweden seek assurances from Trump regarding defense agreement

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will seek assurances from U.S. president-elect Donald Trump that a recently signed defense cooperation agreement will be honored by the new administration and on his commitment to NATO, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said.

Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist speaks at a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily - RTX1UF4P

After years of rising tensions with Russia in the Baltic region, Sweden and the United States signed a declaration of intent in June to increase defense cooperation.

The deal includes joint exercises and adaptation of technologies and practices to a joint NATO-standard.

“He has through his own actions in the election campaign created a long series of question marks,” Hultqvist, told Reuters.

“However, we assume that all contracts and agreements that we and other countries have signed with the United States still stand.”

During his election campaign Trump threatened to abandon U.S. allies in Europe if they do not spend enough on defense and praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin for his leadership.

Hultqvist said he would seek assurances over Trump’s position on NATO, Europe and how he sees the relationship with Russia.

“We will get in contact with the new administration as soon as there is a structure to communicate with,” he said.

Late last month Russian media reported that the country is sharply upgrading the firepower of its Baltic fleet by adding warships armed with long-range cruise missiles.

Sweden, which is not a NATO member, mounted its biggest submarine hunt since the Cold War in 2014 when the military said there were several credible sightings of possible Russian vessels.

Neighboring Finland has complained that Russian fighter jets have violated its air space.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Simon Johnson