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Sweden, Turkey to Hold NATO Talks 'Soon,' Sweden's Foreign Ministry Says
The Swedish foreign ministry said its foreign minister and the foreign minister of Turkey will hold another meeting to discuss Stockholm’s bid to join the NATO alliance. This follows the recent elections in Turkey and the strained ties with Sweden as it seeks to join the group.
The Swedish foreign ministry said on Monday that foreign minister Tobias Billstrom and Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavosoglu will be meeting “soon” to discuss Sweden’s bid to join the NATO alliance. Billstrom initially told Swedish broadcaster SVT on the same day that he will be meeting with Cavosoglu on Thursday during a gathering of NATO’s foreign ministers in Oslo.
However, a spokesperson for Billstrom said they were informed that Cavosoglu would not be attending the upcoming meeting but noted that the meeting will still take place. Talks with Turkey surrounding Sweden’s bid to join NATO were placed on hold due to the recent elections where Tayyip Erdogan won another term as the country’s leader.
“I look forward to being able to shift into a higher gear and speed things up now we know what the result is,” said Billstrom, adding that Stockholm is hoping that the country would become part of the NATO alliance by the annual summit in Vilnius in July.
Sweden and Finland jointly applied to join NATO last year as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, their applications were met with objections from Turkey, especially Sweden, whom Ankara has accused of harboring members of terrorist groups. Finland became NATO’s 31st member back in April after Turkey as well as Hungary ratified their application.
Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO countries who have yet to ratify Sweden’s, with Budapest citing grievances over Sweden’s criticism of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s record on democracy and the rule of law. Sweden has also previously criticized Turkey over its record on human rights and democratic standards.
Meanwhile, NATO peacekeeping troops clashed with Serb protesters in northern Kosovo, with around 25 of the soldiers injured, following the recent elections when ethnic Albanian candidates won in predominantly Serb districts. The NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, Kfor, condemned the violence, while Kosovan President Vjosa Osmani accused Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic of destabilizing Kosovo.
Photo: NFT CAR GIRL / Unsplash