NATO Secretary General hosts meeting of senior officials from Finland, Türkiye and Sweden

  • 06 Jul. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 06 Jul. 2023 16:20

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hosted a meeting of senior officials from Finland, Türkiye and Sweden on Thursday (6 July 2023), focused on Sweden’s membership in NATO.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Tobias Billström; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Elina Valtonen; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye, Hakan Fidan

At the Madrid Summit in 2022, all Allies agreed to invite Finland and Sweden to join the Alliance. Finland and Sweden also signed a Trilateral Memorandum with Türkiye, paving the way for their membership, and have implemented the Memorandum through meetings of a Permanent Joint Mechanism to strengthen cooperation. "All Allies stand together against terrorism, and at next week’s NATO Summit, we will recommit to the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," said Mr Stoltenberg.

Finland joined NATO in April 2023, which Mr Stoltenberg called “a game-changer for our shared security”. He added: “now it is time for Sweden to join the Alliance,” pointing to steps taken by Stockholm – including amending its constitution, introducing new anti-terrorist legislation, removing arms export restriction on Türkiye, and stepping up counter-terrorism cooperation including against the PKK.

"In the meeting we all agreed that we have made good progress," said the Secretary General. "We all agreed that the full membership of Sweden is in the security interest of all Allies, and we all want to complete this process as soon as possible." He added that demonstrations against Türkiye and against NATO in Sweden are aimed at blocking Sweden’s membership, disrupting counter-terrorism cooperation, and weakening NATO.

The Secretary General pointed to the major military benefits that Sweden will bring to the Alliance, including the ability to plan for the defence of the entire Arctic-Nordic-Baltic region as one, and providing an uninterrupted shield from the Black to the Baltic Sea region. “Sweden’s membership in NATO will make us all stronger and safer,” he said.

“Today, we reaffirmed that Sweden’s membership is within reach,” concluded the Secretary General, noting that he will convene a meeting in Vilnius on 10 July with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Kristersson as the next step in the process.