Tuesday, March 21, 2023

NATO talks with Finland, Sweden falter but will continue

BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) – NATO envoys failed to reach a consensus on starting membership talks with Finland and Sweden on Wednesday, diplomats said, as Turkey renewed its objections. To join the two Nordic countries.

The envoys met at NATO headquarters in Brussels after the envoys of Finland and Sweden submitted written applications to join the military organization, one of the biggest geopolitical effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine. – and that could rewrite Europe’s safety map.

Diplomats, who did not wish to be named due to the sensitive nature of the proceedings, declined to say who or what was stalling the process. He pointed to messages from several of NATO’s 30 allies, welcoming requests from Finland and Sweden.,

Lithuanian ambassador Davidas Matulionis told Swedish and Finnish media that the diplomats had exchanged views about their national security. “The discussion was about that, but it is up to Turkey to comment,” he said.

NATO officials also declined to provide details. He underscored Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s comments on Wednesday, saying that “we are determined to work through all issues and reach conclusions swiftly.” Meetings and diplomatic contacts aimed at resolving the problem will continue.

US President Joe Biden expressed optimism on the matter on Wednesday.

“I think we’re going to be fine,” he said.

Turkey is the only ally that has explicitly expressed its opposition. — and while Croatia’s president suggested on Wednesday that his country could do the same to stop trade with Western powers, he is likely to be able to derail the Croatian government’s support for the Nordic pair’s NATO accession. Not there.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that Finland and Sweden should show more respect for Turkey’s sensitivity about terrorism. He is refusing to back down on what it says is their alleged support for Kurdish militants.

Erdogan accused both countries of turning a blind eye to the activities of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, even though the group is on the European Union’s anti-terrorism blacklist.

“You will not hand over us terrorists, but you will ask us to allow us to join NATO. NATO is a security unit. It is a security agency. Therefore, we will say ‘yes’ to this security organization to deny security.” Can’t say.”

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said the Balkan country should do the same. Milanovic is having a fight with Prime Minister Lady Plankovic over domestic issues.

“We must follow Turkey’s example,” Milanovic said. “Turkey will sell its NATO position at a higher price.”

Before Croatia’s parliament ratifies the Nordic pair’s NATO bid, Milanovi – a socialist – wants changes to neighboring Bosnia’s electoral law in favor of Bosnian Croats.

Nevertheless, Plenkovi’s conservative party enjoys a small majority over the Socialists in parliament, and will likely take votes on the NATO bids of Finland and Sweden.

The day started with enthusiasm in Brussels. Stoltenberg said the military alliance was ready to seize a historic moment and allow Finland and Sweden to join their ranks, after both countries submitted membership requests.

Official apps set a security clock ticking. Russia, whose war on Ukraine prompted him to join the military organization, warned that he would not welcome such a move, and might retaliate.

“I warmly welcome the requests of Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partner,” Stoltenberg said. “All allies agree on the importance of expanding NATO. We all agree that we must stand together and we all agree that this is a historic moment that we must take.

“It’s a good day at a crucial moment for our security,” said Stoltenberg, with a smile, as he stood with two envoys with NATO, Finnish and Swedish flags at their backs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that the coalition stop moving toward Russia’s borders, and several NATO allies, led by the United States and Britain, have indicated they are ready to provide security assistance to Finland and Sweden. should attempt to incite or destabilize the Kremlin. During the time it took them to become full members.

Countries would only benefit from NATO’s Article 5 security guarantees – part of the coalition’s founding treaty that pledges that any attack on one member would be considered an attack on all of them – once the membership ratification process is over, perhaps in a few months.

A senior US defense official said the Pentagon is discussing with Sweden and Finland their security needs to prevent Russia from moving towards NATO membership.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist on Wednesday and they talked about an interim period, the official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private Pentagon discussions, said the US military has worked closely with the armed forces of both Sweden and Finland, including a number of exercises, and further exercises provide additional security assurances. can be part of. ,

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed their applications in a tweet, saying that “Putin’s sinister ambitions have changed the geopolitical nature of our continent.” Germany, Italy, the Baltic states and the Czech Republic all spoke favorably about the candidates.

If Erdogan’s objections are overcome, and accession talks go as expected, the two could soon become members. This process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to move quickly, given the threat looming over the Nordic countries from Russia.

Public opinion in Finland and Sweden has shifted widely in favor of membership since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

Finland and Sweden cooperate closely with NATO. They have functioning democracies, well-funded armed forces and contribute to coalition military operations and aerial policing.


Jari Tanner in Helsinki, Suzanne Fraser in Ankara, Lolita C. Baldor and Christopher Megerian in Washington, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen and Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.


Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the war https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine


Nation World News Desk
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