#MeToo: Swedish FM says suffered sexual harassment 'at highest level of politics' in EU

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 20.10.2017 11:39
Updated 20.10.2017 11:46
In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 file photo, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom speaks during a news conference after her meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. (AP Photo)
In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 file photo, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom speaks during a news conference after her meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. (AP Photo)

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Wednesday she had experienced sexual harassment "at the highest level of politics" as she announced she had joined the #MeToo campaign on Facebook.

"I can confirm that this occurs at the highest level of politics and that I myself have experienced it," Wallstrom told Sweden's TT news agency.

She said she didn't want to speak about it "in a too personal manner" nor did she confirm that an incident took place during a meeting of European officials, as reported in a journalist's memoirs.

She said the #MeToo hashtag that trended on social media in the wake of mounting allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein "isn't enough, it must lead to action."

"We have to think about our laws. How can we change public attitudes and what can we do with the means at our disposal to put an end" to sexual harassment, she said.

Wallstrom, who has been in her post since 2014, has been charged by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven with pursuing a "feminist diplomacy" that urges respect for women's rights and freedoms as part of Sweden's international relations.

In her 2014 autobiography, Wallstrom described a dinner with European Union leaders where "suddenly I felt a hand on my thigh. The person sitting next to me started hitting on me. It was absolutely unreal"

She wrote that she discussed it with the European Commission's president and he found it "totally unacceptable."

In 2015, Stockholm's diplomatic ties with Riyadh were frozen after she called Saudi Arabia a "dictatorship", denouncing in particular its treatment of women in brazen terms that other Western diplomats might have avoided in dealing with the oil-rich state.

The #MeToo campaigns on Twitter and Facebook have garnered thousands of accounts of sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of men, spurred by the revelations over a history of abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

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