NATO chief wants Sweden-Finland alliance ‘soon’ – but can’t guarantee it – Politico

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “aims” to include Finland and Sweden in the military alliance “soon” despite Turkey’s objections, but cautioned he “cannot guarantee” the speedy timetable.

Speaking at a Politico event on Wednesday, the NATO chief noted that while negotiations between the three countries are still ongoing, a solution has not yet been found, less than a week before the highly anticipated summit in Madrid kicks off.

“My goal is to make sure that they [Sweden and Finland] Stoltenberg said. “I can’t guarantee, but I would say that’s still my goal.”

NATO leaders are due to sign important decisions next week, including strengthening the east wing presence and an updated long-term strategy document. But with only a few days left before the summit, the bids of Finland and Sweden to join the alliance have yet to be settled.

While there is broad support for member states, the decision to add a new NATO member requires the approval of all 30 allies. Turkey has raised objections to the efforts by Sweden and Finland, accusing both countries of supporting Kurdish groups it considers terrorists.

“This is not the first time we have seen one or just a few allies disagree with the rest,” Stoltenberg said, expressing optimism that Ankara’s opposition would not prevent Helsinki and Stockholm from eventually joining.

The former Norwegian prime minister also insisted that NATO allies have the ability to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons “for as long as it takes,” a statement that comes amid Ukrainian warnings that it is running out of ammunition and increasingly reliant on arms shipments from Western allies.

Stoltenberg said NATO allies have a “political and moral obligation” not to back down on arms shipments.

“We must maintain support for modern and heavy weapons deliveries, as NATO allies have now done for so long, and also that NATO has a role to play in providing support,” Stoltenberg stressed. He emphasized that the war in Ukraine actually began in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and backed fighters in eastern Ukraine.

Stoltenberg stressed that the war in Ukraine would be a “long-term” effort.

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