Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Sweden sends diplomats to overcome Turkish objections to its NATO bid

Sweden will start diplomatic discussions with Turkey to try to overcome Ankara’s objections to its plan to join NATO, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said, with a formal decision to apply for membership of the 30-nation alliance expected on Monday. “We will send a group of diplomats to hold discussions and have a dialogue with Turkey so we can see how this can be resolved and what this is really about,” Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told public service broadcaster SVT. (https://news.yahoo.com/sweden-try-overcome-turkish-objections-072748778.html) Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats dropped their 73-year opposition to joining NATO on Sunday and are hoping for a quick accession, abandoning decades of military non-alignment following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. The government will take the formal decision to apply later in the day and can do so without a vote in parliament. Finland on Sunday confirmed it would apply to join the Atlantic military alliance. However, Turkey surprised its NATO allies by saying it would not view applications by Finland and Sweden positively, with President Tayyip Erdogan saying “Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organisations”. Turkey said it wanted the Nordic countries to halt support for Kurdish militant groups present on their territory, and lift bans on sales of some weapons to Turkey. NATO and the United States said they were confident Turkey would not hold up membership of Finland and Sweden. Any decision on NATO enlargement requires approval by all 30 members of the alliance and their parliaments, but diplomats said Erdogan would be under pressure to yield.

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