BRUSSELS, March 9 (Xinhua) — Representatives of Sweden, Finland and Turkey held talks in Brussels on Thursday to discuss progress in meeting Turkey’s conditions for agreeing to the Nordic countries’ accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military bloc said in a statement.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO but faced objections from NATO member Turkey on the grounds that the two countries harbor members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group by Ankara.
Accession requires the unanimous agreement of all NATO members.
According to NATO’s statement, the participants welcomed the progress made in a three-way agreement called the Trilateral Memorandum, concluded last year in Madrid, which aims to satisfy Turkey’s grievances.
The participants also agreed that swift ratifications for both Finland and Sweden would be in NATO’s interest, and that their membership would strengthen the bloc, the statement said.
“Finland and Sweden have taken unprecedented steps to address legitimate Turkish security concerns. It is now time for all Allies to complete the ratification process and welcome Finland and Sweden as full members of the Alliance ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius,” says NATO . Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
As agreed in the memorandum, there will be no arms export restrictions between the parties; they must significantly improve cooperation against terrorism. and Sweden is now in the process of tightening anti-terror legislation, including against the PKK.
The three countries agreed on Thursday to meet again in the same format ahead of the NATO summit in July.