BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán despatched a letter to his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, inviting him to Budapest to debate Sweden’s accession into the NATO navy alliance, Orbán wrote Tuesday in a publish on X, previously generally known as Twitter.
The invitation comes as Hungary and Turkey stay the one NATO members to not have ratified Sweden’s bid to affix the alliance. Admission into NATO requires unanimity amongst all member international locations, however greater than a 12 months of delays in Budapest and Ankara have annoyed different allies who wish to broaden the alliance amid Russia’s struggle in Ukraine.
Orbán, a right-wing populist who has been lukewarm in his assist for neighboring Ukraine and maintained a pleasant relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has lengthy promised that Hungary wouldn’t be the final NATO member to ratify Sweden’s bid.
Final month, the Turkish parliament’s overseas affairs committee authorised Sweden’s accession protocol, shifting the Nordic nation one step nearer to becoming a member of the alliance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lifted his opposition to Sweden’s membership final 12 months in response to efforts by Stockholm to deal with supporters of Kurdish militants and different teams in Sweden that Ankara views as safety threats.
Erdogan has additionally brazenly linked Sweden’s NATO membership to Ankara’s efforts to buy U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, and has known as on Canada and different NATO allies to carry arms embargoes on Turkey.
Whereas Orbán says his authorities helps Sweden’s admission into the alliance, he claims that lawmakers from his governing Fidesz celebration stay unconvinced due to what he known as “blatant lies” by Swedish politicians concerning the situation of Hungary’s democracy.
Neither Orbán nor his senior officers have indicated what sort of redress they require from Stockholm to allay their reservations over Sweden becoming a member of the navy alliance.
Sweden and Finland deserted their decades-long neutrality and sought membership in NATO amid heightened safety issues following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Finland turned NATO’s thirty first member final 12 months after Hungary and Turkey have been the final two international locations to ratify its bid.
Until an emergency session of Hungary’s parliament known as to debate the matter, its subsequent scheduled meeting is predicted on Feb. 26.