Sweden, Finland hold accession talks with NATO
Following Turkey's approval of Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO, the foreign ministers of the two Nordic countries are holding talks with the alliance.
The foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland were holding talks Monday with NATO on formally starting the process to join the military alliance.
Led by Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and her Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto, the negotiations were made possible after existing NATO member Turkey last week dropped objections.
Ambassadors from NATO's 30 member states were expected on Tuesday to sign the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland, opening a months-long period for alliance countries to ratify their membership.
In the wake of the war in Ukraine in February, Sweden and Finland in parallel announced their intention to drop their military non-alignment status and become part of NATO.
One request vs. a long list of conditions— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 28, 2022
While #Turkey had a long list of conditions from #Finland and #Sweden, all the two Nordic states wanted was to join #NATO.
Here's your guide to understanding on what basis the agreement was made. pic.twitter.com/Aw7Jtu7frp
A NATO summit in Madrid last week endorsed that move by issuing invitations to the two countries after Turkey won concessions over concerns it had raised, and a US promise it would receive new warplanes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Sweden and Finland of being havens for Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants and promoting "terrorism".
Following Turkey's approval of the two country's accession to NATO, Erdogan said that his country has received guarantees from Sweden that it will extradite 73 members of the PKK.
Erdogan also demanded that Sweden and Finland lift arms embargoes imposed on Turkey's 2019 military occupation in Syria.
However, the Turkish President warned that he could still block Sweden and Finland's bids if they failed to follow through on their promises, some of which were undisclosed, such as possible extradition agreements.
But Sweden insisted on Thursday that any decision to extradite "Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects" to Turkey would be made by "independent courts".
Sweden's Linde tweeted that she was going to Brussels on Monday for the talks at NATO headquarters and would attend the ambassadors' signing on Tuesday.
A Finnish diplomat confirmed that Haavisto was also in the Belgian capital for the talks and Tuesday's signing.
The two foreign ministers were to give a media conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday.