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PM: Finland, Sweden want to join NATO 'as soon as possible'

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Brussels, Belgium on October 21, 2021 [RICCARDO PAREGGIANI/POOL/Anadolu Agency]
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Brussels, Belgium on October 21, 2021 [RICCARDO PAREGGIANI/POOL/Anadolu Agency]

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said yesterday that her country and neighbouring Sweden want to join NATO "as soon as possible".

Following a meeting with her Italian counterpart, Mario Draghi, Marin told reporters in Rome that "some issues still need to be settled" but "we want to make sure that every NATO member country ratifies our candidacy as quickly as possible".

Marin said a fast ratification of membership would be the "best security guarantee for Finland and for Sweden at this stage."

Draghi explained that Italy, a NATO member, "will support Finland and Sweden during this transitional period."

"We want to speed up internal procedures to make membership effective as quickly as possible," he explained.

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the NATO alliance yesterday, a decision spurred by Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February. The two states' accession process faces objections from Turkiye.

Turkiye surprised its NATO allies last week by saying it would not view their applications positively, mainly citing their history of hosting members of groups Ankara deems terrorists.

READ: Turkey's balancing act as NATO seeks to expand

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisations… How can we trust them?"

Turkiye also said the two nations should remove the ban on the sale of certain arms to Ankara.

"We only expect NATO countries to … first understand our sensitivity, respect it and finally support it," Erdogan told his party's lawmakers in parliament on yesterday, adding that "supporting terrorism and asking us for support is incoherent."

"None of our allies have ever respected our concerns, and I'm not talking about support here," he added.

Erdogan has reiterated his demands to extradite "terrorists" harboured by Sweden, stressing that Stockholm has not responded to nearly 30 extradition requests filed by Turkiye.

On Monday, the Turkish president said Swedish and Finnish delegations scheduled to visit Ankara for talks "should not bother" to come, if the aim was to convince Turkiye to reconsider the Nordic countries' applications to join NATO.

Europe & RussiaFinlandInternational OrganisationsNATONewsSwedenTurkey
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