Renewed talks on Sweden's NATO membership bid set for march as Stoltenberg sees progress


On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed optimism about the progress being made in talks with Turkey on Sweden's membership bid. He hopes to have both Sweden

and Finland join the alliance by the time of its July summit.

Stoltenberg revealed that he and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had agreed to meet with officials from Finland and Sweden at NATO headquarters in mid-March. The purpose of the meeting is to "address the challenges we face when it comes to Turkish ratification of the Swedish accession protocol."

While Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO allies that have not yet ratified the membership of Finland and Sweden, Stoltenberg expressed that both Nordic states were safer than before their NATO application. He said that as part of the accession process, several NATO allies, including the United States, had issued bilateral security assurances to Finland and Sweden, making it "inconceivable that Finland or Sweden will face any military threats from Russia without NATO reacting."

However, talks between Finland, Sweden, and Turkey have been stalled since January due to Turkey's accusation that Sweden is harboring members of terrorist groups, which it claims must be extradited before it can give Sweden's NATO membership its green light. This comes after a copy of the Koran was burned outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm by Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line.

Despite these challenges, Stoltenberg remained positive about the situation, stating, "I see progress," and that his aim was to have both Finland and Sweden as full members by the NATO summit, which is due to take place in Lithuania from July 11-12. Photo by Fornyingsdepartementet, Wikimedia commons. 


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