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Chile's Bachelet Thanks Sweden for Help During Dictatorship

  • Associated Press

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven welcomes Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to the government headquarters in Stockholm, May 10, 2016.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven welcomes Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to the government headquarters in Stockholm, May 10, 2016.

Chile's president expressed thanks to Sweden on Tuesday for helping thousands of Chileans escape persecution during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

On the first-ever state visit by a Chilean president to the Nordic country, Michelle Bachelet highlighted the efforts of the Swedish prime minister at the time, Olof Palme, and Harald Edelstam, who was the country's ambassador to Chile.

"Chile will never stop being grateful for that helpful hand,'' Bachelet told reporters in Stockholm.

Her father was arrested and tortured for opposing Pinochet's 1973 coup and died in police custody.

Sweden is now home to about 50,000 immigrants from the South American country, one of the biggest Chilean communities outside the Americas.

"They are now very important in our society, building our society,'' Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said.

The two leaders signed agreements to deepen cooperation on trade, welfare, mining, forests, climate, technology, culture and other areas.

Bachelet, who was received by King Carl XVI, Sweden's figurehead monarch, will attend a business forum and address Parliament on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the final day of her visit, she will go to Goteborg, the country's second-largest city, where she will tour Swedish companies, including truck and bus maker Volvo.

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