Membership approval possible for Finland, Sweden_Sec. Gen

Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg has suggested the possibility of obtaining approval from all 30 member states of the military alliance for the membership applications filed by Finland and Sweden.

He also said he wants to speed up the ratification process for the two countries.

NATO foreign ministers wrapped up their two-day meeting in Berlin, Germany, on Sunday. They discussed the intentions of Finland and Sweden to join the western alliance amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Stoltenberg later told reporters that if Finland and Sweden apply and join NATO, that will be a historic moment for Europe.

He added that it will contribute to strengthening the two countries and NATO, and also improving stability across the region.

However, Turkey has expressed reservations over the prospect of the two Nordic countries joining the alliance.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters after the meeting that Finland and Sweden need to stop supporting terrorist organizations.

He suggested that is a requirement of the alliance. He was referring to their support of Kurdish militant groups that Turkey has designated as terrorist organizations.

Stoltenberg told reporters that NATO will continue negotiating with Turkey. He said Turkey has made it clear that its intention is not to block membership.

He noted that he is confident that they will be able to address the concerns that Turkey has expressed in a way that doesn’t delay the membership or the accession process.

As Finland prepares to seek membership in NATO, Stoltenberg also said the alliance is closely following Russia’s behavior along the borders in the vicinity of NATO territory.

 

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