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Sunday, June 23, 2024

NATO Chief Calls New Meeting On Sweden Accession

Mutlaka Oku

By Janet Ekstract

ISTANBUL-NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and NATO allies are keen on seeing Sweden’s accession to NATO happen prior to the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11-12. To that end, Stoltenberg will convene a meeting on July 6 of senior officials from Turkiye, Sweden and Finland in an attempt to sway Turkish objections to Sweden becoming a NATO member. All NATO members must approve another nation’s NATO membership and both Turkiye and Hungary have held out on the Nordic nation’s bid to join the military alliance.

Stoltenberg said the July 6 pre-summit meeting will be a final effort to quicken Sweden’s NATO bid before the major summit in Vilnius. Standing in the way is Hungary who said a vote on Sweden’s NATO accession won’t take place until its autumn legislative session.  As Stoltenberg commented to the press: “The time is now to welcome Sweden as a full member of NATO.” At the July 6 meeting in Brussels, foreign ministers, intelligence chiefs and security advisers from Turkiye, Sweden and Finland will be participating. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland and Sweden sought protection by deciding to join NATO.

Hungary has never stated a reason as to why it’s delaying Sweden’s NATO bid but NATO officials are expecting Hungary to lift its objections once Turkiye grants approval. Several Hungarian lawmakers from the Democratic Coalition party have indicated the governing Fidesz Party isn’t planning to schedule a vote on Sweden’s NATO bid until much later than the NATO Summit. Though Stoltenberg and top Swedish officials have made it clear that Sweden has already fulfilled its responsibilities n the tripartite agreement signed between Turkiye, Finland and Sweden last year – Turkish President Erdogan insists Sweden must do more to demonstrate it doesn’t support the PKK and its offshoot organizations.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Turkiye and Hungary to swiftly approve Sweden’s NATO accession. Macron explained: “It’s now time…to allow Sweden to attend the Vilnius summit as an ally,” he said in a joint declaration with Stoltenberg, prior to their meeting in Paris on Wednesday this week. Macron added: “Now, more than ever, is the time to make decisions that will ensure the unity and stability of the continent.”

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