Sweden Considers Closing Embassy at Vatican

«Not Very Intelligent» Step, Christian Democrat Says

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, FEB. 7, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Sweden is considering a plan to close its embassy at the Vatican, a move that one politician called «not very intelligent.»

Addressing Parliament during a foreign policy debate, Holger Gustafsson of the Christian Democratic Party said the proposal was «incomprehensible,» «unacceptable,» and, above all, «not very intelligent.»

Gustafsson explained that to justify the measure with the excuse of reducing expenses was not acceptable since the embassy´s expenses are minimal. The initiative, nevetheless, has the support of influential political sectors.

The Christian Democratic parliamentarian argued that the Swedish Embassy in Rome was important because of the extraordinary amount of information that passes through it which can materially help Sweden in its foreign policy. Its foreign policy is based on freedom of alliances, defense of human rights, aid to the poor, and support of the oppressed worldwide.

Gustafsson also said it is paradoxical that Sweden wishes to reduce its presence in Rome at a time when virtually all countries have established diplomatic relations with the Vatican, with the exception of some communist and Muslim countries.

Noting the Vatican´s weight in the world, Gustafsson said both Mikhail Gorbachev and then U.S. President George H. Bush visited the Pope and maintained close contacts with the Holy See that at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of Eastern Europe.

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