Swedish Government envoy in talks with the King of Saudi Arabia

Swedish Government envoy Björn von Sydow today presented the Government's well known wish for respectful and good relations between Saudi Arabia and Sweden. This took place in talks between Mr von Sydow, King Salman bin Adulaziz al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier today. During the talks Mr von Sydow presented this wish along with the Swedish Government's desire to develop the bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

"It is very positive that the Government envoy was received by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman," says Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. "We hope to see the Saudi Ambassador back in Stockholm soon and to return to normal relations between our countries. The many contacts through a broad spectrum of Swedish society, along with our express reassurance that we did not intend to insult Islam or Saudi Arabia, contribute to the fact that relations between Saudi Arabia and Sweden appear to be normalising."

Statement by Margot Wallström on the terrorist attacks in Yemen

"I am shocked and distressed by yesterday's appalling terrorist attacks in Yemen. The attacks against two mosques in Sana'a killed at least 140 people and many more were seriously injured.

The Government condemns these cowardly acts of terrorism, which deliberately targeted civilians during Friday prayers. Our thoughts go to the victims' families and loved ones."

A more modern parental insurance system

The Government is proposing a third 'reserved' month of parental benefit. The aim of the proposal is to achieve a more gender-equal take-up of parental benefit, which strengthens the right of children to both their parents. The proposal is also aimed at increasing gender equality in the labour market. At present, two months of parental benefit are reserved for each parent. It is proposed that the new system apply from 1 January 2016 for children born or adopted from that date.

European Council meeting on energy union and external relations

EU heads of state and government met in Brussels on 19-20 March. They agreed to align the sanctions against Russia to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and approved the proposal to establish an energy union. They also discussed the crisis in Libya. Sweden was represented by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

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