Turkey is the focus of all attention, as it opposed the inclusion of two Nordic countries to the alliance.
Diplomats representing Sweden and Finland at NATO met with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday to deliver their governments’ requests to admit their nations into the military bloc.
Axel Wernhoff, from Sweden, and Klaus Korhonen (Finland) met NATO chiefs to jointly file the paperwork. On Tuesday, the two letters were signed jointly by both foreign ministers.
Stoltenberg expressed gratitude to the envoys who delivered the applications. He said it was an historic moment for the organisation and that everyone in the group agreed. “on the importance of NATO enlargement.”According to the secretary general, “security interests of all allies need to be taken into account”They will be evaluating the bids as NATO will “work through all issues and reach rapid conclusions.”
JUST IN: “This is a great day …” #NATOChief Stoltenberg receives letters from Finnish Amb @korhonen_klausAnd @SwedenNato Amb Axel Wernhoff asking to open membership negotiations.Stoltenberg alludes obliquely to (Turkish) roadblocks, saying he’s confident they’ll be worked out. pic.twitter.com/VBNO63UIUF
— Teri Schultz (@terischultz) May 18, 2022
Turkey opposed NATO membership earlier after they accused them of harbouring terrorists, and discriminating in trade with Turkey.
The Turkish officials were referring to the perceived leniency towards anti-government organizations, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Ankara considers to be terrorist groups, and the restrictions on the export of arms to Turkey imposed in 2019 in the wake of Ankara’s crackdown on Kurdish militants in Syria.
NATO’s chief expressed confidence that any issues Turkey may have with applicants would be quickly resolved and won’t hinder their accession. The new NATO member must be approved unanimously. Turkey may deny Sweden and Finland entry.
Stockholm and Helsinki broke with their traditions of non-alignment and have sought membership in the US-led military organization after Russia’s attack against Ukraine. Moscow said that it will make all necessary preparations for NATO defenses, and would accept the addition of two more members.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols were created to grant the regions that had broken away special status in the Ukrainian government.
Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.