NATO wants to respond to “concerns” expressed by Turkey, which threatens to block the accession of Sweden and Finland to the alliance, its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today.
“We certainly want to respond to the concerns expressed by Turkey in order to find ‘an agreement to move forward,'” Stoltenberg said in Copenhagen, adding that he was “optimistic” that a decision on NATO enlargement would be made soon.
Stoltenberg noted that “it is not uncommon” for a member state to express different views. “We have a lot of experience in NATO, when there is a different point of view we sit down and find solutions,” he told reporters. “We are in close contact with Finland, Sweden and Turkey,” he added.
From London, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he believed there was a way to resolve Turkey’s concerns over the accession of Sweden and Finland.
“I think there is a way. I believe that in the end we will get there and it is important to listen to all the members and their concerns in this process and of course we will listen to Turkey,” Wallace told the House of Commons. He added that he intends to discuss the issue with his Turkish counterpart.
Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday, a move prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the Turkish government has objected, accusing the two countries of supporting organizations it considers “terrorist”.
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