Sweden and Finland Have Been Cleared to Join NATO

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After talks with Turkey and ahead of Biden’s meeting with Erdogan on Wednesday, Sweden and Finland have been cleared to join NATO.

The leaders of Turkey, Sweden, and Finland have signed a trilateral agreement that will pave the way for the two Nordic countries to join NATO and removes Istanbul’s objections to the application.

The agreement was announced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday evening, ahead of President Joe Biden’s scheduled meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

The leaders of Turkey, Sweden, and Finland have signed a trilateral agreement that will pave the way for the two Nordic countries to join NATO and removes Istanbul’s objections to the application.

The agreement was announced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday evening, ahead of President Joe Biden’s scheduled meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

‘I am pleased to announce we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,’ Stoltenberg said.

‘Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism,’ he added.

Details will be worked out in the coming days, but the agreement comes as Europe faces its worst security crisis in decades as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Turkey declared that it had ‘got what it wanted,’ including ‘full cooperation… in the fight against’ the rebel groups.

‘Our joint memorandum underscores the commitment of Finland, Sweden and Türkiye to extend their full support against threats to each other’s security,’ said Finish President Sauli Niinistö in a statement.

On Tuesday morning, President Biden spoke with Erdogan.

According to a senior administration official, the president was asked to ‘be able to talk directly with President Erdogan about the membership application to Finland and Sweden and to encourage him to seize this moment and get this done.’

According to the official, Biden made the call at the request of Sweden and Finland.

On Tuesday night, the official spoke to reporters about President Biden’s role in the process and requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.

According to the official, President Biden did not want to get involved in the “middle” of negotiations, but rather wanted to put the weight on the scale at the end to get it done.

‘We have been very studious, and rejecting the idea that the United States was wanting to play broker. We did not think that would be productive,’ said the official.

The Biden administration regards the agreement as a success.

‘This obviously is just a powerful shot in the arm for allied unity and also, you know, a historic moment for the Alliance to traditionally neutral countries choosing to sign up to NATO and being welcomed by NATO,’ said a senior administration official.

Erdogan objected to Finland and Sweden’s membership applications because he wants them to change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists.

On the sidelines of NATO on Wednesday, Biden and Erdogan will hold a formal meeting.

The two will now ‘talk about the broader set of issues and U.S.-Turkey relationship,’ according to a senior administration official.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO.

It is the alliance’s largest expansion since former Soviet bloc countries joined in 1999.

Photos

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, third from the left, shakes hands with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, right, next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, second from the right, after signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden joining NATO; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) looks on.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, third from the left, shakes hands with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, right, next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, second from the right, after signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden joining NATO; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) looks on.

 

Before boarding Air Force One in Munich, President Joe Biden.
Before boarding Air Force One in Munich, President Joe Biden.

 

Before leaving for Madrid, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to reporters.
Before leaving for Madrid, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to reporters.

 

Finland and Sweden will bring nearly a million troops, including reserves, as well as a massive amount of artillery, jets, and submarines.
Finland and Sweden will bring nearly a million troops, including reserves, as well as a massive amount of artillery, jets, and submarines.

 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to file NATO membership applications.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to file NATO membership applications.
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