– Ranking officials from the Philippines and Sweden are looking forward to further developing defense relations between the two nations. This came after Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell paid a visit to the Department of National Defense (DND) last May 19. The Swedish official was welcomed by DND acting undersecretary Angelito M. de Leon, Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Wednesday night. “The two officials acknowledged the increasing engagement between the Philippines and Sweden, covering various areas from economic to defense. Minister Forssell highlighted Sweden’s intent to develop a sustainable and long-term partnership with the Philippines,” he added. Andolong added that de Leon and Forssell are looking at the expansion of further defense relations with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for defense materiel acquisition. “Both officials looked forward to further developing bilateral defense relations between the two countries, through the signing of the MOU concerning cooperation on defense materiel acquisition,” he added. Forssell and de Leon also exchanged the two nations’ respective positions on current international security issues. “Both officials underscored the two countries’ shared interest in preserving regional peace and stability and promoting the rule of law,” Andolong noted. On March 24, DND chief Carlito Galvez Jr. met with Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Annika Thunborg to discuss updates on the Philippines’ defense modernization efforts, particularly on the priorities of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to boost its surveillance and interdiction capabilities. Andolong earlier said relationships between the Philippines and Sweden are good as both countries have partnered for peace works. With growing defense ties between the two countries, Galvez and Thunborg are looking forward to the negotiation and conclusion of a framework for defense materiel acquisition. “Both sides also explored the possibility of visits of delegations in the future,” Andolong added. Earlier, Sweden’s offer to supply Saab-made JAS-39 “Gripen” multi-role fighters (MRF) to the Philippines was among the key topics discussed by then DND officer in charge Jose Faustino Jr. during a meeting with Thunborg last December 21. The two officials discussed “mutual interests in the field of defense”. The JAS-39 “Gripen” is one of the two jet fighters eyed by PAF to fulfill its MRF requirement.
Source: Philippines News Agency