NATO’s Secretary-General states that he has agreed to hold a high-level meeting in Brussels with the Turkish president.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that the alliance will hold discussions with Sweden about its accession before its summit next month, with the approval of Turkey, which has been holding up the membership bid.
Stoltenberg stated that he had come to an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “convene a high-level meeting in Brussels before the summit.”
The Turkish presidential office stated Sunday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addressed recent developments in Russia involving the Wagner Group private military company (PMC), as well as the possibility of Sweden’s NATO membership.
While speaking to the media in Vilnius, Lithuania, Stoltenberg explained that the upcoming meeting “will include foreign ministers, heads of intelligence, and national security advisors. The aim is to make progress in completing Sweden’s accession to NATO,” he added.
Lithuania is scheduled to hold the NATO summit next month on July 11-12.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, citing changes in the European security picture because of the Ukraine crisis. As Finland went on to become a member, Turkey, and Hungary stymied Sweden’s bid, with Budapest citing grievances over Stockholm’s criticism of Hungary’s Prime Minister and Ankara accusing Sweden of harboring what it considers Kurdish terrorists and, most recently, meddling in Turkish elections.
Hungary went on to approve Sweden’s membership, with Turkey remaining the sole NATO member to refuse it.
Moreover, Erdogan stated that mere changes in Swedish law regarding terrorism are insufficient for Ankara to approve its NATO bid.
Last week, after the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Turkey’s National Defense Minister Yasar Guler assured that if Sweden fulfills its commitments like Finland, it can become a NATO member, expressing support for the alliance’s “open door” policy.