According to diplomats, NATO envoys failed to achieve an agreement on whether to begin membership talks with Finland and Sweden on Wednesday, as Turkey reiterated its opposition to the two Nordic countries joining.
After Finland and Sweden’s ambassadors submitted written applications to join NATO, the envoys met at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, in a step that represents one of the most significant geopolitical repercussions of Russia’s war on Ukraine and might rewrite Europe’s security map.
The diplomats, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation, declined to say who or what was delaying the procedure. They cited comments from many of NATO’s 30 partners expressing support for Finland and Sweden’s proposal.
The envoys had shared views on national security, Lithuanian Ambassador Deividas Matulionis told Swedish and Finnish media. “That was discussed,” he continued, “but it is up to Turkey to reply.” NATO authorities also failed to provide any additional information.
They echoed Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg’s earlier statement that “we are determined to work through all concerns and seek a fast conclusion.” The problem will be resolved through meetings and diplomatic outreach. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden expressed confidence about the situation.” I believe we’ll be fine,” he remarked.
While Croatia’s president said on Wednesday that his country may do the same to achieve a deal with Western powers, he’s unlikely to undermine the Croatian government’s support for the Nordic pair’s NATO membership.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, believes Finland and Sweden should show more consideration for Turkish concerns about terrorism. He is adamant in his opposition to their purported support for Kurdish militants.
Erdogan claims that the two countries are turning a blind eye to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, despite the fact that the organization is on the European Union’s antiterrorist blacklist.”You will not hand over terrorists to us; instead, you will request membership in NATO.” NATO is a defense organization.
As a result, we cannot agree to deprive this security organization of its security,” he stated on Wednesday. President Zoran Milanovic of Croatia stated that his Balkan country should follow suit. On domestic issues, Milanovic is at odds with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
“We should learn from Turkey,” Milanovic remarked. “Turkey will demand a high price for joining NATO.” Before the Croatian parliament approves the Nordic pair’s NATO candidacy, Milanovic, a socialist, wants to modify Bosnia’s electoral legislation to favor Bosnian Croats.
However, Plenkovic’s conservative party holds a slim majority in parliament against the socialists, and would undoubtedly win the vote on Finland and Sweden’s NATO aspirations. In Brussels, the day had begun on a positive note.
After Finland and Sweden submitted membership requests, Stoltenberg stated that the military alliance is ready to seize a historic opportunity and work quickly to allow them to join. The official applications start the security timer.
Russia, whose war on Ukraine prompted them to join the alliance, has warned that such a move would be unwelcome and that it may respond.”I enthusiastically welcome Finland and Sweden’s requests to join NATO. Stoltenberg stated, “You are our closest collaborators.”
“We all believe that we must stand together and that this is a historic opportunity that we must take.”This is a good day at a key time for our security,” Stoltenberg said, standing alongside the two envoys, who were wearing NATO, Finnish, and Swedish flags behind them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that NATO stop expanding toward Russia’s borders, and several NATO allies, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, have indicated that they are prepared to provide security support to Finland and Sweden if the Kremlin tries to provoke or destabilize them during the transition period.
The countries will only benefit from NATO’s Article 5 security guarantee, which states that any assault on one member will be considered an attack on all members, until the membership confirmation process is completed, which is expected to take a few months.
NATO Officials Denied to Provide Details
According to a senior US defense official, the Pentagon is in constant contact with Sweden and Finland about their security concerns as they prepare to join NATO. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist on Wednesday, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private Pentagon conversations.
Until NATO’s Article, 5 kicks in for Finland and Sweden, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US and European partners are “prepared to send a very strong message. that we will not allow any action against Finland or Sweden.
According to Sullivan, Biden also asked his national security staff and cabinet officials about the risks and benefits of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and they “unanimously” supported the decision because both countries have proven to be “extremely capable security allies.
“Putin’s awful intentions have changed the geopolitical outlines of our continent,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet, welcoming the Nordic bids. The nominees were praised by Germany, Italy, the Baltic republics, and the Czech Republic.
The NATO membership procedure generally takes eight to twelve months, but considering the threat that Russia poses to the Nordic countries, NATO wants to move quickly. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, public opinion in Finland and Sweden has swung dramatically in favor of membership.
Finland and Sweden have a close relationship with NATO. They have functioning democracies and well-funded armed forces, and they participate in alliance military and aviation operations. Jari Tanner contributed reporting from Helsinki, Suzan Fraser from Ankara, Lolita C. Baldor, Christopher Megerian, Aamer Madhani from Washington, Jan M. Olsen from Copenhagen, and Colleen Barry from Milan.