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Extension | NATO accelerates contacts to unblock the candidacy of Sweden and Finland in Madrid

By Manuel V. Gomez from Brussels. Sweden and Finland’s application to join NATO is stalled. Turkey does not give its arm to twist for now and maintains the blockade against the Nordic countries. In the last few hours, contacts have intensified to fix the situation at the Madrid summit and a crack of hope seems to be opening up to solve the situation at the most important meeting of the Alliance in recent decades. The attempt in extremis It will arrive this Tuesday at a meeting between the secretary general of the organization, Jens Stoltenberg, and the top leaders of Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki. The message would be powerful: two countries with impeccable democratic credentials are abandoning their traditional neutrality to join the military organization, which will once again point to Russia as its main threat, as it did during the Cold War with the USSR. Even then, Sweden and Finland did not abandon that status and, now, moved by the fears that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has unleashed, they have taken a step that can be described as historic. “We hope to move forward with the accession of Sweden and Finland”, declared Stoltenberg in Madrid.

It will not be easy, although there is some optimism among some of those familiar with the negotiations. “Things look a little better than they did a week ago,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö recently declared. His Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned this morning before flying to Madrid that he will not settle for “empty words”, that he wants “concrete” measures.

“Integration into NATO implies responsibilities”, said the Turk, who accuses Helsinki and especially Stockholm of protecting terrorist groups, mainly the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and for the restrictions on the sale arms that Stockholm and Helsinki imposed in 2019 on Ankara.

Read the full piece here.

In the photograph, which is from Kenzo Tribouillardfrom France Presse, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at a press conference Monday at the Atlantic Alliance headquarters in Brussels.

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