Finnish Foreign Minister Says May Consider NATO Entry Without Sweden
HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Finland, which jointly applied with Sweden for NATO membership in May, may consider continuing the accession procedure without Stockholm, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Tuesday.
Relations between Sweden and Turkey have deteriorated following the recent controversial anti-Islamic demonstration with the burning of the Quran in Stockholm. On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Sweden should not expect Turkish support for its bid to join NATO
"But we have to be ready to re-evaluate the situation. Has something happened that would in the long run prevent Sweden's application from progressing? Now it is too early to take a view on that," Haavisto told Finnish broadcaster , when asked if Finland should proceed at the same pace as Sweden in seeking approval for the application.
The minister also noted that the simultaneous accession of the two Nordic countries to NATO would be more preferable "from the perspective of both countries' security."
The Finnish defense minister in his turn insisted on Tuesday that his country should seek NATO membership simultaneously with Sweden, after the neighbor's spat with Turkey threatened to delay their admission indefinitely.
"It is important to keep a cool head. We applied for NATO membership at the same time as Sweden. It is in the interest of Finland, Sweden and NATO that we finish together," Mikko Savola said on social media.
On May 18, three months after Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership, terminating decades of neutrality. Their accession protocols have already been ratified by all NATO members except Hungary and Turkey.
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