Sweden will not permit NATO nuclear weapons on its soil: Minister
Sweden's Foreign Minister says the government never intended to change the conditions for the NATO applications submitted by its predecessor.
Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Friday that his country will not grant NATO permission to position nuclear weapons on its territory.
Billstrom told local news outlet TT that "it is still the long-term Moderate Party position," who took power in September, to forbid nuclear arms on Swedish soil, stressing that "we have never intended to change the conditions for the applications submitted by the previous government."
Last week, Micael Byden, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish armed forces, told reporters that Sweden should not "set reservations" on NATO’s use of its lands before finalizing its accession to the military bloc, while not ruling out hosting the alliance’s nuclear weapons.
Byden's statements led the Social Democrats in Sweden to demand an explanation of why the new government had abandoned the parties’ agreement not to host nuclear weapons.
Billstrom dismissed the controversy as a "tempest in a teapot," claiming that Sweden would join NATO fellows Denmark and Norway in barring nuclear weapons on their soil.
In the same context, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto also pointed out earlier this week that his country had "no intention" of hosting NATO nuclear weapons after Finland's Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, said last month that she was open to the idea.
Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and scrambled to become NATO members in May after the start of the Ukraine war.
Twenty-eight of NATO's 30 allies have so far ratified the accession of Finland and Sweden, leaving only Turkey and Hungary to sign off before they officially join the group.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had told NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg that until Finland and Sweden take the necessary "steps", Turkey will not ratify their membership of NATO.
The two Nordic nations have been accused by Turkey of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants it deems "terrorists" and held back on ratifying their NATO membership despite an agreement in June.
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
On Thursday, Billstrom announced that he will travel to Ankara to confer with Turkish officials about Sweden's proposed accession to NATO.
Following a meeting with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, Billstorm argued that he plans "to go to Ankara in the fall to continue discussions, and in parallel discussions should be held with the authorities of all three countries, namely Sweden, Finland, and Turkey… And when these discussions are completed, then the Turkish parliament will have the opportunity to ratify [Sweden's accession to NATO]."