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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

AbroadToday, 3:472Stoltenberg wants to support Sweden’s accession to NATO as soon as possible

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Photograph: Cynthia Sanderson

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will attend the inauguration ceremony of the re-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the weekend. The visit comes at a time of increasing pressure for Erdogan to drop his opposition to Sweden joining NATO.

Stoltenberg announced on Thursday at a meeting of foreign ministers of NATO member states in Norway that he will visit Ankara to support Sweden’s accession to NATO as soon as possible. This week, Stoltenberg had a telephone conversation with Erdogan.

Stoltenberg will attend Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony on Saturday, NATO said in a statement. Erdogan was re-elected last week as president for another five years.

In the statement, which stated that the visit will last until Sunday, it was stated that Stoltenberg will hold bilateral meetings with President Erdogan and senior Turkish officials.

NATO member Turkey hesitated to accept Sweden into the military alliance. Türkiye and Hungary are the two member states that have not yet approved Sweden’s application for membership.

Finland officially joined the alliance in April.

Erdogan accuses Sweden of harboring people Ankara considers terrorists, particularly members of the separatist Kurdish organization Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said on Thursday that his country has fulfilled all its commitments to accession and that “it is time for Turkey and Hungary to start ratifying Sweden’s NATO membership”.

Many ministers attending the meeting in Oslo stated that they wanted Sweden to join NATO before the NATO summit to be held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, on 11 and 12 July.

Stoltenberg said it’s possible. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also said on Thursday that he expects Sweden to attend the Vilnius summit.

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Source: Tv Net

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