Sweden to seek constructive progress with Turkey over Nato bid

Finland and Sweden applied to join Nato last month in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. PHOTO: AFP

STOCKHOLM (REUTERS) - Sweden will look to make constructive progress in talks with Turkey on Ankara's objections over the Nordic country's application to join the Nato defensive alliance, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Friday (June 10).

Finland and Sweden applied to join Nato last month in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but face opposition from Turkey, which accuses them of supporting and harbouring Kurdish militants and other groups it deems terrorists.

The objections caught Finnish, Swedish and many Nato officials by surprise and have dimmed prospects for rapid progress on the membership bids ahead of a Nato summit in Madrid later this month.

"Our application has received broad support among Nato members," Ms Linde said in a foreign policy declaration in the Swedish Parliament.

"Our ambition is to, in a constructive spirit, make progress on the questions that Turkey has raised."

Ms Linde added that there should be no doubts that Sweden stood together with allies against terrorism.

Sweden's government survived a no-confidence vote on Tuesday with the help of a lawmaker whose demands for support for Kurds in Northern Syria could complicate its attempts to join Nato, all of whose members must approve any new entrants.

Ankara has also hit out at Swedish authorities for halting arms exports to Turkey in 2019 as the country launched a military operation in northern Syria.

While not referring directly to Turkey, Ms Linde said Swedish membership in Nato could "change the conditions for arms exports within our national regulatory framework".

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