April 14. 2024. 7:13

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NATO: Date set for Finland-Sweden-Turkey meeting

A third NATO meeting will be held between the three countries on 9 March, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu, with Nordic countries hoping they will become NATO members by the summer.

Talks on Turkey’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO application have been at a standstill since the burning of the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm in January. But a week ago at a press conference, the Turkish foreign minister announced that Turkey is ready to resume.

According to Cavusoglu, the meeting will be held in Brussels, raising hopes within the Swedish government to enter NATO by the NATO summit on 11-12 July in Vilnius.

Talks during the next meeting will take place at the official level within a special working group set up last summer, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said last week.

“It does not primarily involve ministerial visits or ministerial discussions,” said Billström.

Although the Turkish leadership would like to prioritise Finland’s NATO application now, time is very short if it is to be done before the Turkish elections, so far scheduled for 14 May.

Sweden and Finland are also waiting for a yes from Budapest. As recently as Saturday (25 February), there were signals that a vote in parliament could only take place in the “second half of March,” and ratification only after that. Earlier last week, EURACTIV reported that ratification could take place this week, according to local news sources.

In an interview on Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he had urged parliamentarians in his Fidesz party to give the green light to Sweden and Finland, but there are still objections and MPs need more time to negotiate.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)