Now is the time for NATO members to finalize Sweden's accession to the alliance, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a visit to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries yesterday, quoted by Reuters.
At a news conference in the northern Swedish city, Lule Blinken noted that Sweden had taken remarkable steps in response to security concerns raised by NATO member Turkey and had repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to the alliance.
"We think now is the time and there is no reason not to move forward," the secretary of state said.
He rejected the suggestion that Turkey's agreement to Sweden joining the alliance could be linked to the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara, although Joe Biden hinted at such a link.
Earlier in the day, Turkey called on Sweden to prosecute those responsible for projecting the flag of a banned group onto the Swedish parliament building on the day Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a runoff in the presidential election.
"We are in constant contact with our Turkish counterparts regarding this specific issue," Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said at today's press conference in Lule.
"We have a memorandum and we are implementing it, and the last part of it will enter into force on June 1st and will include new legislation on the fight against terrorism," Kristerssonadded and emphasized that this is an important step that meets Turkey's demands.
Ankara ratified Finland's NATO membership at the end of March, but still has objections to Sweden joining because it believes that Stockholm harbors members of terrorist groups, Reuters recalled.
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