MADRID (AP) — Turkey has agreed to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, a breakthrough in an impasse clouding a leaders’ summit in Madrid.
After urgent top-level talks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Sweden and Finland to abandon their long-held nonaligned status.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had blocked the move, insisting the Nordic pair change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said the three countries’ leaders signed a joint agreement after talks on Tuesday.
“I strongly welcome the signing of this trilateral memorandum, and I strongly welcome the constructive approach all three countries have shown during the negotiations," Stoltenberg said. "Finnish and Swedish membership of NATO is good for Finland and Sweden, it is good for NATO, and it is good for European security.”
Congratulations to Finland, Sweden, and Turkey on signing a trilateral memorandum – a crucial step towards a NATO invite to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our Alliance and bolster our collective security – and a great way to begin the Summit. pic.twitter.com/ug47DhRDGl
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 28, 2022