Niinistö: Sweden’s security OK if Finland joins NATO first


Finland’s president says he doesn’t think Sweden will find itself in a vulnerable security situation, although neighboring Finland is likely to join NATO first

HELSINKI– Sweden will not be in a vulnerable security situation even if Finland joins NATO first, the Finnish president said on Sunday, as the two Nordic membership candidates negotiate bilateral military pacts with the United States .

“It is possible that Finland will join NATO before Sweden,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said on Sunday in an interview published by Swedish public broadcaster SVT. “Should we have refused Turkey’s offer of ratification? terribly difficult situation if we had said ‘no’ to Ankara.

Niinistö referred to his Friday visit to Ankara where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would move forward with the ratification of Finland’s NATO bid, paving the way for the country’s membership. country to the military bloc, but would not ratify Sweden’s candidacy until disputes between Ankara and Stockholm are resolved.

Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO 10 months ago following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, abandoning decades of non-alignment.

NATO needs the unanimous approval of its existing 30 members to expand, and Turkey and Hungary are the only countries that have yet to ratify the Nordic duo’s offers.

If Sweden’s NATO membership talks with Turkey drag on, many Swedish security policy experts agree it would put Stockholm in a vulnerable military position in the Baltic Sea region.

Niinistö said Finland, Sweden and Denmark are currently in separate talks with the United States on security issues with the aim of reaching a bilateral military pact similar to what Norway reached with Washington previously.

“I think it’s a big change, almost bigger than joining NATO,” Niinistö said of the ongoing talks with the United States when asked what will happen next. Sweden’s security if talks to join NATO drag on. “It means a lot if we (the Nordic countries) all have a direct and quite similar (military) agreement with the United States.”

Since announcing their intention to join NATO in May 2022, Finland and Sweden have pledged to jointly enter the Western military alliance at the same time.

Niinistö told SVT that the Nordic neighbors are determined to join NATO “hand in hand as long as it is in our hands, but the ratification of Finland’s NATO membership is in Turkey’s hands. and Hungary”.

ABC

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