Secretary General welcomes latest steps towards Sweden’s NATO accession
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Stockholm on Tuesday (24 October 2023) to discuss finalising Sweden’s NATO accession. The Secretary General welcomed the decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to submit the accession protocol to the Grand National Assembly.
“Following the submission of the ratification documents, I now count on a speedy ratification by the Turkish parliament,” said Mr Stoltenberg. The Secretary General highlighted that Türkiye’s decision is in line with the agreement at the Vilnius summit in July, and stressed that Sweden had also fulfilled its commitments: “Sweden has amended its constitution, changed its laws, expanded counter-terrorism cooperation, and resumed arms exports to Türkiye,” he said. Mr Stoltenberg noted that NATO has recommitted to the fight against terrorism, including by updating its action plan, and appointing an Assistant Secretary General to serve as his Special Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism. “I am glad we have been able to address Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns in a way that enables Sweden’s membership to move forward. I look forward to welcoming Sweden as a full NATO Ally in the very near future,” he said.
The two leaders also addressed recent damage to critical undersea infrastructure in the Baltic Sea. “Allies and Sweden are working together to establish the facts, and NATO is strengthening our presence in the region,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
The Secretary General also said: “we discussed the situation in the Middle East, and Israel’s response to the horrific terrorist attack launched by Hamas. Israel has the right to defend itself in line with international law. The protection of civilians is essential, and I welcome efforts to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza. Iran and Hezbollah should not take advantage of the conflict. It is important that this situation does not escalate further.”
During his visit to Sweden, the Secretary General is also meeting with Defence Minister Pål Jonson, Foreign Minister Tobias Billström, and the First Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Kenneth G Forslund.
On Wednesday (25 October 2023), Mr Stoltenberg will participate in the NATO-Industry Forum in Stockholm.