Turkish foreign minister told Sweden its Nato bid will be ratified ‘within weeks’ – Europe live | Nato


Turkey told Sweden it expects Nato bid ratification ‘within weeks’, Swedish minister says

Tobias Billström, Sweden’s foreign minister, told reporters this morning that “it is high time to get the ratification done by both Türkiye and also by Hungary of course, and this was a clear message sent by the foreign ministers”.

For months, Turkey and Hungary have delayed ratification of Sweden’s Nato membership, fuelling frustration within the military alliance.

Speaking as Nato ministers meet in Brussels, Billström said:

We have a very dangerous moment in time for Europe and for the world – and for Nato as an organisation. With the security deteriorating and also with the war in Ukraine, Sweden’s membership in Nato is very important for the organisation.

Billström said he met his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan yesterday.

He told me that he expected the ratification to take place within weeks. And of course, we don’t take anything for granted from the side of Sweden, but we look forward to this being completed.

And no new conditions were put forward in this conversation, there were no new demands from the Turkish government, so we look [at] our part as being fulfilled.

The Swedish minister also said that Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, has repeated that Hungary will not be the last to ratify.

Billström added:

That means that it is more in the hands of Ankara than maybe of Budapest. We expect white smoke from Budapest the moment there is white smoke from Ankara, to put it very bluntly.

The Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan (right) speaks with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström (left), before the Nato foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels
The Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan (right) speaks with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström (left), before the Nato foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters

Key events

Cancellation of Sunak meeting won’t hurt long-term relations, Greek leader says

The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has said that the cancellation of a meeting with the UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, was “unfortunate” but would not hurt long-term relations.

“I believe the move [cancellation] will not hurt relations between Greece and Britain in the longer term,” Mitsotakis told the Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Reuters reported.

He added:

The cancellation of this meeting also had a positive side. Greece’s just demand for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures received even more publicity, not only in the UK but also internationally.

Downing Street had said the planned meeting was cancelled because the Greek prime minister reneged on assurances that he would not use a UK visit as a “public platform” to lobby for the return of Parthenon marbles to Athens. The Greek side has denied any such assurances were given.

Sakellaropoulou, the Greek president, expressed support for the push to return the sculptures, Kathimerini reported.

The president said:

The reunification of the sculptures, a request made since the establishment of the [modern Greek] state, has garnered understanding from the international community and the British public, marking a significant gain. The just demand of our country will find a response.

Read more on the row here.

A visitor takes pictures of sculptures that are part of the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum in London, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. Greek officials said Tuesday Nov. 28, 2023 that they will continue talks with the British Museum on bringing the Parthenon Marbles back to Athens, despite U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cancelling a meeting with his Greek counterpart where the contested antiquities were due to be discussed.(
A visitor takes pictures of sculptures that are part of the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum in London, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. Greek officials said Tuesday Nov. 28, 2023 that they will continue talks with the British Museum on bringing the Parthenon Marbles back to Athens, despite U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cancelling a meeting with his Greek counterpart where the contested antiquities were due to be discussed. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Addressing media reports that Poland plans to send troops to Finland’s border with Russia, the Kremlin said today that such a move could stoke tensions, Reuters reported.

Moscow would see it as a threat, the Kremlin said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “This is an absolutely redundant measure to ensure border security, because there is no threat there, there is no tension in reality.”

He added:

That is why tension may arise during the concentration of additional units on our border, because the Finns must be clearly aware that this will pose a threat to us – an increase in the concentration of military units on our borders.

Pressure is mounting for Turkey to sign off on Sweden’s Nato membership bid. Yesterday, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, discussed the matter with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan.

This morning, the US embassy in Stockholm wrote on social media: “We look forward to Sweden becoming a Nato ally as soon as possible.”

Turkey told Sweden it expects Nato bid ratification ‘within weeks’, Swedish minister says

Tobias Billström, Sweden’s foreign minister, told reporters this morning that “it is high time to get the ratification done by both Türkiye and also by Hungary of course, and this was a clear message sent by the foreign ministers”.

For months, Turkey and Hungary have delayed ratification of Sweden’s Nato membership, fuelling frustration within the military alliance.

Speaking as Nato ministers meet in Brussels, Billström said:

We have a very dangerous moment in time for Europe and for the world – and for Nato as an organisation. With the security deteriorating and also with the war in Ukraine, Sweden’s membership in Nato is very important for the organisation.

Billström said he met his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan yesterday.

He told me that he expected the ratification to take place within weeks. And of course, we don’t take anything for granted from the side of Sweden, but we look forward to this being completed.

And no new conditions were put forward in this conversation, there were no new demands from the Turkish government, so we look [at] our part as being fulfilled.

The Swedish minister also said that Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, has repeated that Hungary will not be the last to ratify.

Billström added:

That means that it is more in the hands of Ankara than maybe of Budapest. We expect white smoke from Budapest the moment there is white smoke from Ankara, to put it very bluntly.

The Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan (right) speaks with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström (left), before the Nato foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels
The Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan (right) speaks with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström (left), before the Nato foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters

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