Saturday, March 25, 2023

NATO looks to ‘historic’ Madrid summit with Sweden, Finland

BARCELONA, Spain ( Associated Press) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that next month’s summit in Madrid would be a “historic” opportunity to strengthen the coalition to face the Russian offensive against Ukraine.

Speaking at an event in Madrid to mark Spain’s 40th year as a NATO member, Stoltenberg said he looked forward to welcoming Sweden and Finland to a summit hosted by the Spanish capital on June 29-30 .

“At the Madrid summit, we will determine the way forward for the next decade,” Stoltenberg said. “We will also join Finland and Sweden, who have just made a historic application to join our alliance. The Madrid summit is an important opportunity to reaffirm our NATO values.”

But the leader of the 30-member coalition did not address Turkey’s reluctance to open doors to Sweden and Finland. Turkey, which commands the second largest force in NATO behind the United States, has cited alleged support by the Nordic countries for Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists as reasons to reject their applications. Adding new NATO members requires unanimous support.

On Sunday, when Stoltenberg held a private session with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to prepare for the summit, he expressed confidence that Turkey could be convinced to drop the Scandinavian pair’s disapproval.

“Turkey, an important ally, has expressed its concerns, and we have to do what we always do because our decisions are by consensus,” he told Spanish state broadcaster TVE.

Sánchez and Spanish King Felipe VI presided over Monday’s celebration at the Royal Theater in Madrid, attended by Stoltenberg and four former NATO general secretaries and three former Spanish prime ministers.

Next month’s summit will redefine NATO’s strategic priorities for the next decade, with Stoltenberg saying confronting Chinese ambitions, the rise of undemocratic states, climate change and instability in Africa, for Spain in the southern part of Europe. Contains top priority. But its immediate focus will be on how to continue supporting Ukraine and prevent any further aggression by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Spain became the 16th member of NATO on 30 May 1982. Its accession marked a milestone in Spain’s return to the international political system after the end of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco in 1975. The country’s engagement with NATO took just one year. After his budding democracy survived a failed military coup. Spain later joined the European Union in 1986.

The NATO summit hosted by Spain in 1997 invited former Soviet-bloc members Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to join the coalition they once stood against.

“Next month Madrid will host another historic summit,” Stoltenberg said. “Although this time the context is very different, not a fresh burst of freedom but a cold burst of struggle.”

Spain is assisting Ukraine with humanitarian aid and military equipment. Its forces are deployed on NATO missions in Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania and Iraq in addition to naval operations.

“Today our security is threatened by Putin’s regime and therefore our support for Ukraine is complete,” Prime Minister Sanchez said. “Putin has clearly not achieved his goals because we allies have shown that our support is unwavering.”


Follow all Associated Press stories related to the war in Ukraine

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news