During his visit to Sweden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed hope for that country’s accession to NATO in the coming weeks. In turn, the head of NATO Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo stated that Sweden is already in a safer position than before submitting the application to join the Alliance.
– We are counting on the completion of the accession process Sweden to NATO in the coming weeks, we expect that to happen, said the US Secretary of State in Lulea, northern Sweden, on Tuesday. Anthony Blinken.
– Sweden i Finland took concrete actions to respond to Turkey’s concerns about the accession of these countries to NATO, Blinken assessed.
When asked at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson whether Stockholm would have time to join NATO before the Vilnius summit (July 11-12), the US Secretary of State replied that “now is the time.”
Blinken assured that the US and allies uphold security guarantees. “We will not tolerate aggression against Sweden, regardless of that country’s status in NATO,” he stressed.
Prime Minister Kristersson argued that “contacts with Turkey are maintained”. He reminded that on Thursday, June 1, the tightening of anti-terrorist regulations, expected by Turkey, comes into force in Sweden.
Anton Blinken in Sweden
According to the Swedish Prime Minister, Blinken’s invitation to the F 21 air base in Lulea, where the press conference took place, is related to the desire to show Sweden’s potential in terms of security.
– At the same time, the “Arctic Challenge 2023” maneuvers are taking place, in which Swedish (fighter) Gripens and American F-16 and F-32 take part – he stressed.
Blinken arrived in Sweden to attend the EU-US Trade and Technology Council meeting on Wednesday. Among the topics discussed will be: customs policy towards Russia and China, as well as the green transformation.
Kristersson reminded that it was no coincidence that the meeting was organized in the city of Lulea in the north of Sweden, a region rich in deposits of rare earth metals.
Stoltenberg: Sweden will be a member of the Alliance
Head of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, who is in his home country in connection with the informal meeting of foreign ministers of the alliance member countries taking place in the Norwegian capital on Wednesday, said that “Sweden will be a member of NATO.” “It is already in a safer position than it was before applying to join the Alliance,” he said.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Stoltenberg expressed his satisfaction with the increase in defense spending by European countries. – NATO ensures Europe’s security, and 80 percent of the Alliance’s expenditure comes from non-European countries – he reminded. For this reason, he added, “it is important that European countries focus on cooperation with NATO and avoid creating double structures.”
Stoltenberg expressed the need to ensure that after completion war in Ukraine Russia will not have the opportunity to invade this country again.
According to the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, the topics of Wednesday’s talks in Oslo, in addition to the Turkish blockade of Sweden’s entry into NATO, will be the membership conditions imposed on Ukraine, Ukraine’s counter-offensive, training Ukrainians on F-16 aircraft, as well as candidates for successors to Stoltenberg, whose term ends in the fall.
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