After brief and successful negotiations with Turkey, which previously had announced its opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, the countries will be put on track to acceptance. Bloomberg reports:
NATO moved one step closer to bolstering its eastern front with Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to Swedish and Finnish bids to join the military alliance.
The deal reached on Tuesday night as leaders gathered in Madrid to discuss NATO’s future path all but ensures a major expansion on Russia’s doorstep. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday that the alliance would invite the two Nordic countries to join while leaders are still in the Spanish capital.
Stoltenberg called the invitation “a historic decision,” with the alliance’s 30 members then due to ratify membership. “I expect that also to go rather quickly because allies are ready to make that ratification process happen as quickly as possible,” he said.
The move will radically change the defense dynamic of Europe, stabilizing security of the group’s Baltic members. The leaders will discuss issues including boosting NATO’s deterrence and defense, support for Ukraine, and sign off on long-term strategic guidelines.
Turkey agreed to support inviting the two Nordic countries into the military alliance, after receiving pledges from Finland and Sweden addressing its security concerns, including restrictions on Kurdish groups that Turkey considers terrorists, and avoiding arms embargoes.
“The talks were intense and tough, not in mood, but in terms of the subject matter, and after four hours, we reached an understanding,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said. “Turkey becoming an ally now could impact the considerations” on arms export permits on a case-by-case basis, he added.
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