President Sauli Niinisto Says Finland Wouldn't Join NATO Without Sweden

President Sauli Niinisto Says Finland Wouldn't Join NATO Without Sweden
Finland Wouldn't Join NATO Without Sweden

International Military - Finland will not join the NATO bloc without Sweden if Sweden is deadlocked on its membership path. The statement was made by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. He made the remarks during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Helsinki on Sunday (12/6/2022).

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“I said that the Swedish case is ours. This means that we will go further,” said Niinisto. The NATO secretary general, for his part, signaled the alliance had not set a deadline for accepting Finland and Sweden's offer but was seeking to clear differences between them and Turkey "as soon as possible."

Stoltenberg insisted the forthcoming alliance summit, scheduled for late June, was never seen as a deadline for accepting the two nominees. “A high-level conference (summit) in Madrid is never a deadline; at the same time, I would like to see this resolved as soon as possible.

And therefore we are working hard with our NATO ally, Turkey, and also with Finland and Sweden, to address the issues that Turkey has raised," Stoltenberg said. Stoltenberg's remarks signaled a marked shift in NATO's stance on the timeframe for potential membership of Finland and Sweden.

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Earlier this week, NATO Deputy Secretary General Camille Grand expressed hope that differences between Turkey and the two candidate member states would be resolved before the summit. “We hope the differences will be resolved in time for the summit.

It is important to consider Turkey's concerns," Grand told Swiss broadcaster RTS during an interview. Finland and Sweden have rushed to join NATO amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

While the two Nordic countries have maintained close ties and military cooperation with the US-led bloc for decades, they remain de jure neutral nations. However, the potential accession of the two countries to NATO is deadlocked because Turkey, the largest country in NATO, has firmly opposed their offer of membership.

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Ankara accuses the two countries of functioning as "guest houses for terrorist organizations" and hosting members of outlawed Kurdish groups it deems to be "terrorists."

NATO recognizes Turkey's concerns, according to Stoltenberg, and is pushing for negotiations between Ankara and the two Nordic countries. “So when an important and important ally like Turkey raises concerns like terrorism, then of course we have to sit down and take this seriously. And that's what we did," he said.

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