Sunday January 29, 2023

Finland may have to consider NATO bid without Sweden: FM

Published : 24 Jan 2023, 20:10

  DF News Desk

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto .File Photo: Finnish government by Fanni Uusitalo.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto on Tuesday said that Finland might have to reconsider promoting a joint, simultaneous entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO if Sweden's application is delayed much longer, reported Xinhua, quoting national broadcaster Yle.

Joint entry with Sweden still remains the priority, with a view to the Finnish and Swedish security interests, Haavisto told an interview with the national broadcaster Yle on Tuesday.

Haavisto made the comment following a statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday night that Sweden should not expect Turkey endorsement to join NATO after a Quran was burned outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm Saturday.

The minister said recent protests in Sweden had delayed the processing of the Swedish and Finnish NATO applications. He believes that the protesters aim to provoke Turkey and influence the opinions of its citizens and politicians.

Finland and Sweden's NATO path will now be delayed at least until Turkey parliamentary and presidential elections in mid-May, said Haavisto.

Finland, Sweden and Turkey are trying to schedule a new tripartite meeting "in early spring" to assess the situation, Haavisto said.

Turkey blocked the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden demanding concrete Finnish and Swedish actions to address Turkish security concerns over extraditing hostile groups members before it unblocks their accession into NATO.

Another country Hungary did not ratify the membership yet, although Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on November 2 assured President Sauli Niinistö that his country will ratify Finland´s NATO accession protocol.

Finland and Sweden submitted the NATO membership applications in May.

Their accession procedure officially started in early July after 30 NATO members, including Turkey signed accession protocols.

So far 28 countries out of total 30 ratified the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden.

The countries are USA, Italy, Canada, Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, United Kingdom, Albania, Poland, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Lithuania, Montenegro, Belgium, North Macedonia, France, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain Portugal and Slovakia ratified the membership protocols.

In late June, the Foreign Ministers of Finland, Sweden and Turkey signed a trilateral memorandum which confirms that Turkey will support the Finland´s and Sweden´s NATO membership applications.