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Cuts force Sweden to close 5 embassies

Dec. 22, 2010 at 10:40 AM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Sweden announced Wednesday it is closing its embassies in Argentina, Belgium, Vietnam, Malaysia and Angola because of budget cuts.

"This painful decision is a consequence of the Parliament recently deciding to cut the allocation to government offices by 300 million kronor ($44 million)," Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a statement reported by the TT news agency.

The Riksdag voted Dec. 9 to cut the administrative budget in the first defeat for the new minority government. Bildt called the cuts "stupid, dangerous and harmful."

The Foreign Ministry also announced that its ambassador to Poland, Dag Hartelius, will become chief of Sweden's representation to the European Union.

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