Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: NATO chief sure diplomatic spat over Sweden, Finland will be resolved soon

Turkey’s leader flatly opposes having Sweden and Finland join NATO but the military alliance’s top official said Thursday he was confident that the standoff would be resolved and that the two Nordic nations would join soon. Turkey’s approval of Finland and Sweden’s application to join the Western military alliance is crucial because NATO makes decisions by consensus. Each of its 30 member countries has the power to veto a membership bid. “We have told our relevant friends we would say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO, and we will continue on our path like this,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish youths in a video for Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, a national holiday. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday he was ”confident that we will come to a quick decision to welcome both Sweden and Finland to join the NATO family.” “We are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed, because when an important ally (like) Turkey raises security concerns, raises issues, then of course the only way to deal with that is to sit down and find common ground,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark. (https://www.chron.com/news/article/Turkey-s-president-says-no-to-Sweden-and-17183705.php) Finland and Sweden officially applied to join the world’s biggest security organization on Wednesday. A first meeting of NATO ambassadors to discuss their applications failed to reach a consensus. For the moment, no new meeting of NATO ambassadors is planned, and one is only likely to be held once higher-level diplomacy with Turkish officials has addressed Erdogan’s concerns.

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