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BRUSSELS, 13 Feb. () –
NATO now marks the summit of allied leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania, next July as the deadline for the accession of Sweden and Finland to the organization, after assuming that the electoral panorama in Turkey postpones until the summer the ratification of the entry of Stockholm and Helsinki.
In remarks prior to the meeting of allied defense ministers, the US ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith, has insisted that the allies want Sweden and Finland to join the coalition and has insisted that Washington hopes to finalize the process for the 9/11 summit. and July 12.
“We work closely with the countries pending ratification, Hungary and Turkey, and many of us have said that our interest and expectation is that Sweden and Finland enter the alliance soon. Many allies, including the United States, would like to see it happen ahead of the summit. of Vilnius”, the North American diplomat pointed out.
Smith has highlighted the contributions of the Swedes and Finns to NATO, stressing their closeness to the alliance and arguing that they will bring many military capabilities to improve the security environment in northern Europe and the Baltic Sea.
The lack of progress in recent months between Turkey and the two candidates, together with the electoral call for next May 14, with the dissolution of the chambers, rules out any ratification of the accession at this time. An allied source shares this analysis and insists that the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO at the same time, after Helsinki suggested a possible solo advance, since Ankara focuses its veto on Stockholm.
This allied source points to the month of June, when the Turkish parliament is constituted, as a possible moment to unblock the situation, although, in any case, the ultimate goal is for there to be good news for the meeting in Vilnius.
These deadlines have been assumed by Finland itself, whose president, Sauli Niinisto, pointed to the summit in Lithuania as the stage to formalize the entry into the organization and warned that if the blockade persisted by then it would raise questions about access to NATO, insisting that Turkey’s veto has become a problem for the military alliance itself.
Stockholm and Helsinki formally requested their membership in May and their process has been processed in record time, but has been vetoed by Ankara, which alleges a lack of cooperation in anti-terrorism matters to block formal ratification. The Turkish authorities are blocking their entry until they hand over all the individuals accused of belonging to Kurdish organizations declared by the Turkish government as terrorist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish veto was initially lifted on the eve of the NATO leaders’ summit in Madrid, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a three-way agreement with Sweden and Finland to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, a pact that the Swedes and Finns now say they are abiding by but that has not translated into a more conciliatory position on the part of Turkey, which insists on the extradition of people linked to the PKK.