TALLINN, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Sweden has no intention of joining NATO, Sweden's newly appointed Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said Tuesday.
"We have clearly said that we will stay out of NATO," Lofven told reporters in Tallinn, adding that Sweden intends to "keep and, if possible, improve cooperation" with the alliance.
The minister noted that Sweden has collaborated with the NATO states for a long time, but this does not mean that it is obliged to follow the alliance's rules. This includes the fifth article of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one NATO member would be considered an attack against all of them.
Lofven refrained from passing comment on the ongoing operation in the Stockholm archipelago, where Swedish forces are searching for what is believed to be a foreign submarine. The minister reiterated that he could not confirm that the alleged foreign activity off the Swedish coast is, in fact, a submarine, and added that as long as the Armed Forces remain silent, he will not discuss the issue.
The Swedish Armed Forces launched a major operation off the coast of Stockholm on Friday after receiving information about the presence of a suspicious underwater object in the region.