Sweden and Finland reinforce their commitment to join NATO together
The Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, and his Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, have reiterated this Thursday their commitment to continue together in the process of joining NATO despite the fact that Turkey maintains its veto on Stockholm. Ankara has in recent days reinforced its refusal to allow Sweden to join the Alliance following the symbolic execution by a pro-Kurdish group in Stockholm of a doll representing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the burning of the Koran by a far-right, which has also sparked protests in several Muslim countries. “We are embarking on this ship together and we will make the journey together,” Kristersson told a joint press conference in the Swedish capital.
Similar words have been used by Marin, who cleared up the doubts created a week ago by the Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, who had admitted for the first time that Helsinki could reconsider that position if Turkey maintained the veto on Sweden. “I think it is important that we send a clear message: it is in everyone’s interest that we enter NATO together. The two countries meet all the conditions to enter,” Marin said.
Both presidents have coincided in pointing out that they closed a memorandum with Turkey at the NATO summit last June in Madrid and that they have achieved results in all agreed areas. Kristersson has highlighted that his government has sent a proposal to the Legislative Council on Thursday to toughen the Swedish anti-terrorist law, which could come into force in four months, to criminalize those who support terrorist organizations with money or in another way. “We must be calm and return to the dialogue table, because it has been very fruitful, Turkey has confirmed this. We must return to a reasonable discussion between us”, said Kristersson, who has been “understanding” with the Finnish “frustration”.
Marin has shown his displeasure with the “atmosphere” created in which Sweden appears as a kind of “troublemaker” and has stressed that it has fulfilled the conditions agreed with Turkey, as has Finland. “It is also a question of credibility for NATO to end this situation as soon as possible,” said the Finnish Prime Minister.
Kristersson and Marin have also agreed to show their hope that both Hungary, which has promised to do so in the coming weeks, and Turkey have agreed to the entry of both countries before the next NATO summit in Vilnius.
The Russian military intervention in Ukraine caused Sweden and Finland to end their military non-alignment in 2022 and request NATO membership, which was approved at the last June Alliance summit in Madrid. The entry of both countries is pending the approval of Turkey, which lifted its veto at the last minute in exchange for certain conditions, embodied in an agreement, while the parties continue negotiating.
Hungary has not ratified the entry of both Nordic countries either, but it is expected to do so soon. All accession to NATO must be endorsed by each of its members. Ankara is pressing for drastic measures against Kurdish groups that it describes as “terrorists”, especially Sweden, which has a large community of Kurdish origin, and is demanding the extradition of residents of that country who support their cause. (Efe)