Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Sunday, Mar 03, 2024

NATO chief: ‘My aim’ is for Sweden to join alliance by July

NATO chief: ‘My aim’ is for Sweden to join alliance by July

In an interview with POLITICO, Jens Stoltenberg lauds Finland’s NATO breakthrough on Thursday and argues that Sweden could still join soon.
Sweden could still become a NATO member by summer, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told POLITICO on Thursday as Finland moved ahead on its own to join the military alliance.

The two Nordic countries initially applied to join NATO together last year, but their fates diverged Thursday after Turkey ratified Finland’s bid while leaving Sweden behind — the product of a lingering dispute over the country’s support for Kurdish groups and limitations on arms exports.

Stoltenberg insisted in an interview that Sweden could still get its own green light after Turkey’s May elections. Turkey’s relationship with Sweden has grown especially contentious ahead of the elections, following a Quran-burning protest in Stockholm earlier this year.

“My aim remains that after the Turkish elections, but before the Vilnius summit, we can also have the ratification of Sweden,” the secretary-general said from NATO headquarters in Brussels, referencing the alliance’s annual gathering on July 11.

He did not say, however, if that would require a change in governments. Long-time Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is regularly accused of democratic backsliding, is facing a serious threat to his power for the first time in years.

Stoltenberg stressed that the decision is ultimately up to Turkey. Hungary has also withheld ratification, but Turkey is seen as the ultimate roadblock for Sweden.

“We speak about sovereign national parliaments, and of course, I cannot provide any guarantees on behalf of them,” he said.

The NATO chief argued that even getting Finland into NATO after months of delays — also the result of Turkey-led objections over similar issues — shows the military alliance is working amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Finland’s final ratification “demonstrates that NATO’s door remains open,” he said. Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added, got “the opposite of what he wanted — and Finland will make NATO stronger.”

If both Finland and Sweden join the alliance, Stoltenberg noted, 96 percent of the European Union’s population will soon live in a NATO country.

“Today is an historic day,” he proclaimed.

But probed about the lagging Swedish bid, which has fueled a degree of frustration within the alliance, the secretary-general expressed hope that Turkey could sign off on Sweden’s membership between the May 14 election and the July summit.

Stoltenberg underscored that, in his view, Stockholm has done its part to address Ankara’s concerns.

“Sweden has met their obligations under the trilateral memorandum that was agreed,” he said, referencing a deal Ankara struck with both Helsinki and Stockholm that spurred policy changes in both countries.

“There were hard negotiations, but Sweden has proven that they are stepping up their cooperation with Turkey, fighting terrorism, exchanging more intelligence, information — and there are no restrictions on arms exports” from Sweden to Turkey, he added.

The secretary-general also reiterated that even though Sweden is not yet a member of the club, it is not alone.

“Sweden is in a total different situation, and much more secure now than before they applied,” he said.

“They’re now sitting at the NATO table,” he said, pointing out that the alliance has boosted its presence in the region and some allies have given Sweden security assurances.

“I will work hard to get the ratification of Sweden in place as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg said. “But no, it’s not as if in this meantime Sweden is alone, without any friends, without any security.”

“It’s inconceivable,” the secretary-general said, “that we will not react if there’s any military threat.”
Newsletter

Related Articles

Arab Press
0:00
0:00
Close
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
The Saudi Kingdom's Ultimatum to Israel: A Win-Win Peace with Saudi Arabia and the Arab World, or a Lose-Lose Continued Occupation and Endless Conflict
Biden condemns anti-Arab hate after WSJ opinion piece calls Dearborn ‘jihad capital’
Turkey Releases Seven Hostages Captured by Pro-Gaza Gunman
Arab Parliament Commends Women's Contributions to Societal Development
British and Hungarian Foreign Ministers visited Lebanese leaders to stress the importance of enacting UN Resolution 1701
Yemen's Houthis Say They Targeted British Merchant Vessel In Red Sea
Donald Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for 'Historic' Middle East Policy
US lawmakers approve F-16 jet sale to Turkey following NATO expansion support
Saudi Arabia Climbs 25 Places in World Bank's National Statistics Indicator
Tourism Growth in Saudi Arabia Fuels Advancements in the Hospitality Industry," Says Rotana Official
Houthi Rebels Request Departure of UN Staff from Yemen, Including US and UK Personnel, within a Month
Modi Inaugurates Hindu Temple on Site of Demolished Mosque in India
Over 25,000 Deaths in Gaza Amid Israeli Offensive
Escalating Clashes in Gaza as Israel Distributes Leaflets to Assist in Locating Hostages
Turkey's First Astronaut Set to Launch for International Space Station Today
Head of Palestinian Investment Fund Warns More People May Die of Hunger Than War in Gaza
Palestinian Envoy Criticizes UK for Alleged 'Double Standards' in Policies Toward Israel
Morocco to Lead UN Human Rights Council in 2024
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Egypt has been identified as the leading military force among Arab nations and ranks 15th globally
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Iranian Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi Receives Additional Prison Sentence
"Gazans Urge Israeli Forces to Target Hamas in Leaked Audio"
Biden States US and UK Airstrikes on Houthis Were a 'Defensive Action
Large Pro-Palestine Rally in London as Gaza Conflict Hits Day 100
South Africa Urges World Court to Halt Israeli Actions in Gaza
×