Reuters International

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom speaks to media during the bilateral discussions with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte


STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's government reiterated its stance on Friday that the country should not seek NATO membership, following an opposition push to join the military alliance in light of increased tensions with Russia in the Baltic region.

As part of a defence agreement between the centre-left government and three opposition parties the government had commissioned a report evaluating the country's defence and security stance.

While the report is still to be published later on Friday, the government said Sweden would not change its long tradition of neutrality by joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"The combination of military non-alignment, heightened national defence capability and deepening cooperation are our way to meet the challenges we face without contributing to increased tension in our region", Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist wrote in a signed article in daily Dagens Nyheter.

Dagens Nyheter has read the report and quotes it as saying a membership would lead to a more predictable common behaviour in a Baltic Sea crisis and hence that the West's possibilities to avoid a conflict would likely increase.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander)


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