Finland to host Nato meeting with Turkey and Sweden on Friday

Representatives from Finland, Sweden and Turkey are to meet in Finland on Friday to discuss the two Nordic countries’ Nato applications, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs told Yle on Wednesday.

Officials have not announced the exact location or agenda of the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to review the trilateral agreement signed by Finland, Sweden and Turkey in Madrid in June.

In an interview with Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Wednesday (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde confirmed that the meeting will take place on Friday.

“It will take place on Friday in Finland. It’s about how we should follow up on the agreement that Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed in Madrid during the Nato summit, a prerequisite for Turkey to approve the applications from Sweden and Finland, and now this is a follow-up meeting,” she said.

Despite the agreement, Ankara has continued to make critical comments about these countries’ Nato membership, and which is has not ratified.

Otherwise the ratification process for Finland and Sweden has moved along quickly this summer with 23 out of 30 member states approving their admission into the alliance. Seven member states remain, with six of these already expressing preliminary positive decisions: the Czech Republic, Greece, , Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.

The biggest question mark remains Turkey, which has demanded that the two countries hand over Turkish individuals that it suspects of crimes. The Nordic applicant states have insisted that the rule of law cannot be compromised in such cases.

Ambassador: US and Finland are already allies

Earlier on Wednesday, US Ambassador to Finland Douglas T. Hickey is very optimistic about Finland and Sweden becoming Nato members.

According to Hickey, the swift and almost unanimous ratification of the accessions in the US Senate sent a strong message to all that waiting is not in anyone’s interest.

US Ambassador Douglas T. Hickey presented his credentials to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in May.

Hickey told the Finnish news agency STT that he already considers the US and Finland to be allies. NATO membership, he said, only gives a formal seal to the alliance.

Hickey predicted that Finland’s most important role in Nato will be to ensure the security of its own border with Russia, just as Finland has promised to do.

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