NATO “expects” Sweden and Finland to join in 2023… but cannot guarantee it

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson for his part lamented that Turkey “wants things that we cannot give it”.

Sweden and Finland could join NATO as early as 2023, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday January 8, who however recalled that the decision depended on the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments. “I expect (that the accession will take place in 2023), but I will not guarantee the exact date, because it is of course a sovereign decision of the Turkish Parliament and the Hungarian Parliament, (which) n have not yet ratified the agreement“said Jens Stoltenberg in an interview with AFP.

Hungary and especially Turkey have been blocking the entry of the two Nordic countries into NATO since May. “We had negotiations, and they were quite demanding, in July last year, when Turkey, Finland and Sweden agreed on a joint memorandum in which they described how they could intensify their collaboration, at the both with regard to arms exports, but also, for example, in the fight against terrorism“recalled Jens Stoltenberg.

Finland and Sweden have respected this agreement and are clearly committed to long-term cooperation with Turkey on these issues. Therefore, the time has come to finalize the accession process and ratify the accession protocol“, did he declare.

Stockholm refuses certain Turkish demands

Earlier in the day, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that “Turkey [confirmait] as well as us [avions] did what we said we would do, but she also says she wants things we can’t and won’t give herevoked the process of accession of his country to the Atlantic Alliance during a conference on defense and security in the presence of Jens Stoltenberg. “We are convinced that Turkey will make a decision, we just don’t know when.“, advanced Ulf Kristersson before adding: “The decision is in Turkey’s camp“. This decision depends in particular on several factors of Turkish internal politics.

At the end of December, Ankara had noted “positive measures” taken by Stockholm, but demandedother important stepsto remove his objections to Sweden’s entry into NATO, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu at the time. These statements came a few days after the Swedish Supreme Court refused to extradite journalist Bülent Kenes, requested by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Only the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments have not ratified the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO.

On the sidelines of Sunday’s conference, the head of Finnish diplomacy reaffirmed that his country would enter the Atlantic Alliance at the same time as its neighbor. “Finland is not in such a rush to get into NATO that we can’t wait for Sweden to get the green light“, said Pekka Haavisto to the press. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson made one of his very first international trips to Ankara in early November to try to lift the Turkish veto.

SEE ALSO – NATO: Turkey “wants things that we cannot give it”, insists the Swedish Prime Minister

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