Signal “Membership of Sweden and Finland may withdraw from NATO.” Last Minute GERMANY, France, Netherlands, UK headlines and events
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO did not rule out “separate membership” for Sweden and Finland, adding that “it is important that both are approved.” Stoltenberg also assured that Turkey and Hungary are “working hard” to get final approval for Sweden and Finland to join NATO “as soon as possible.”
“The real question is not whether the accessions of Finland and Sweden will be jointly ratified, but whether both will be ratified as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg said ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, signaling that the two ratifications could be made separately.
“I’m sure there will be both, and I’m working hard to get them approved as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg recalled that the leaders of 30 NATO member countries decided to invite Sweden and Finland to the Alliance at the summit they held in Madrid in July 2022, 30 countries signed the accession protocols, and 28 ratified them.
Only Turkey and Hungary have not yet ratified their agreement to join the two Scandinavian countries. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that for the first time in early February, the Turkish Grand National Assembly was able to approve Finland’s membership without a joint statement from Sweden.
The Swedish authorities’ decision to allow a Koran-burning demonstration in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm provoked a strong reaction from Ankara, which suspended talks after a tripartite meeting scheduled for February was postponed.
Polls conducted in Finland showed that the majority of the population is in favor of their country joining NATO, without waiting for Sweden. But the leaders of the two countries confirmed their desire to unite.
Approval of applications may be delayed as TGNA’s work is due to be suspended in March due to the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for May in Turkey. However, discussions about postponing the election date after the earthquake have created new uncertainty in this regard.
Sweden and Finland already have a fairly large participation in NATO with the status of a guest country. These two countries are invited to all meetings, including meetings of the military committee. They also received security guarantees from the US, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands in the event of a possible Russian attack until they were integrated into the Alliance.
German Foreign Minister: “Sweden has taken steps to solve Turkey’s problems”
On the other hand, German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock made a statement during her visit to the Swedish capital Stockholm, emphasizing that NATO allies should implement the agreement providing for the admission of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance as soon as possible.
Burbock said Sweden has taken concrete steps to allay Turkey’s fears about its NATO membership.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Bilström said that regardless of whether his country and Finland apply for nominations at the same pace or not, Sweden hopes to become a NATO member as soon as possible.
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