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REL: NATO allies pressure Turkey to approve Sweden's membership

REL: NATO allies pressure Turkey to approve Sweden's membership

NATO allies pressured Turkey on Tuesday to accept Sweden's delayed membership of the military alliance.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan during a meeting of the alliance's foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday that Sweden's application should be ratified by the Turkish parliament as soon as possible. his spokesman said.

"The strength and credibility of our alliance are at stake. We must not lose another day" , said the Foreign Minister of France, Catherine Colonna.

Turkey and Hungary are the only two NATO members that have yet to ratify Sweden's application, 18 months after it applied to join the alliance.

The Turkish parliament started this month a debate on Sweden's application to NATO. All 29 other NATO allies, excluding Turkey and Hungary, hoped to formally welcome Sweden into the alliance when foreign ministers meet in Brussels this week. However, the process of its membership has stalled in the Turkish Parliament.

Sweden and Finland abandoned their policy of military neutrality and applied to join NATO after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Finland became NATO's 31st member in April.

Finland's foreign minister, Elina Valtonen, said Helsinki was "disappointed" that Sweden had not yet been accepted into the alliance.

Sweden's membership is very vital for the entire alliance and we hope that in the near future other steps will be taken in that direction," she said./REL

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