Berlin, Jun 12 (EFE).- Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday said he is confident Finland and Sweden will join the defense alliance but added that Turkey’s security concerns must be addressed.
“These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, it’s about weapons exports,” said Stoltenberg during a joint press conference with Finnish president Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki.
Turkey’s security concerns over their accession should be taken “very seriously,” Stoltenberg pointed out, saying that the way to overcome them is by remaining in dialogue.
“We have to remember and understand that no Nato ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkiye,” Stoltenberg explained, using the Turkish pronunciation.
Niinisto, meanwhile, said he was “surprised” by Ankara’s stance but that he was determined to seek solutions.
Turkey is currently the only Nato member vetoing their entry, accusing both countries of backing terrorism and harboring Kurdish militants wanted by Ankara on terror charges. The alliance chief said the upcoming Nato summit in Madrid between June 29 and 30 would be crucial but said that it “was never a deadline” for the admission process.
Stoltenberg is set to fly to Stockholm on Monday to meet with prime minister Magdalena Andersson.
Finland and Sweden, both traditionally neutral states, decided to apply to the military alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has shifted public opinion in the region.
Nato believes the joining of both Nordic states will contribute to the security of the whole alliance, despite the warnings Moscow issued against the move.
Stoltenberg, who on Thursday suspended his work trip to Germany after being diagnosed with shingles, is resuming preparations for the Nato summit in Madrid withvisits to Helsinki and Stockholm.EFE