Sweden still hopes to join NATO at Vilnius summit, but no guarantees

Sweden still awaits approval from Turkey and Hungary.

By Reuters - March 31, 2023

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson congratulated Finland on Friday after Turkey’s parliament cleared the way for Finland to join the NATO alliance, leaving Sweden still waiting to receive approval from all members.

Turkish lawmakers ratified Finland’s membership on Thursday β€” the last of the alliance’s 30 members to do so after Hungary’s legislature approved a similar bill earlier this week.

Kristersson said he hoped Sweden, whose membership still has not been ratified by either Turkey or Hungary, would join NATO later this year, possibly by the time of a NATO summit in Vilnius in July.

But he added there were “no guarantees” and said domestic politics in Turkey could have a large impact on the decision.

Finland and Sweden asked to join NATO last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said he had urged Turkey and Hungary to ratify both applications.

A vote on Sweden‘s bid has not yet been scheduled in Hungary. Turkey is still holding off approving Sweden‘s membership bid, as Ankara says Sweden has not gone far enough in cracking down on people Turkey considers terrorists.

Talks between Sweden and Turkey have made little progress, especially following several disputes mainly over street protests by pro-Kurdish groups in Stockholm.

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