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Sweden and Finland may join NATO this year

Sweden and Finland can join NATO from 2023, the NATO Secretary General said on Sunday, who, however, recalled that the decision depends on the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments. “I am waiting (to join in 2023), but I can’t guarantee the exact date, because this is, of course, a sovereign decision of the Turkish parliament and the Hungarian parliament, (who) have not yet ratified the agreement,” Jens Stoltenberg told AFP.

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

“Finland and Sweden respect this agreement and are clearly committed to long-term cooperation with Turkey on these issues. Therefore, it is time to complete the accession process and ratify the accession protocol,” he said. A little earlier in the day, the Swedish Prime Minister condemned some of Turkey’s requests.

“Fast Process”

In December, the Swedish Supreme Court refused to extradite journalist Bulent Kenes at the request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ankara “also says that it wants what we cannot and do not want to give it,” Ulf Kristersson emphasized at the time during a conference on defense and security.

NATO Secretary General noted the speed of the accession process of the two countries, which felt threatened by Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. “Of course, I would like it to be completed as soon as possible. But at the same time, this is a fast process compared to all the processes of joining NATO,” said Jens Stoltenberg. “I am convinced that this will happen, but I will be careful not to speculate about the exact moment when this will happen,” he concluded.

Source: Le Parisien

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