NATO's ambition is Sweden, Finland's membership before Vilnius Summit – Lithuania

  • 2022-11-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - NATO decisions on further bolstering its eastern flank and the participation of Sweden and Finland at next year's Vilnius Summit as full members should be the Alliance's ambition, say advisers to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

This aspiration was stressed on Monday at a Vilnius meeting of senior advisers to the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Poland on foreign policy and national security issues.

The meeting focused on regional security issues, the course of Russia's war in Ukraine, support for Ukraine, and preparations for the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, the Lithuanian presidential press service said.

The Lithuanian presidential advisers briefed their counterparts on the progress of preparations for the NATO Summit in Vilnius, its objectives and expectations.

"The advisors stressed that decisions on further strengthening NATO's eastern flank, consolidation of political and practical support to Ukraine, as well as the participation of Sweden and Finland at the NATO summit as full members should be the key goals," the statement reads.

Presidential advisers also discussed the implementation of the decisions made at the NATO Summit in Madrid and agreed on the need to make progress in boosting air defense and enhancing allied capabilities in the region.

Sweden and Finland jointly applied to join NATO back in May in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and after they decided to abandon their long-standing policy of non-alignment with military blocs. However, the process has been held up by Turkey and Hungary as they have so far refused to ratify the Nordic countries' accession documents.

Turkey accuses Finland and Sweden in particular of harboring Kurdish fighters from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and of supporting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria. Ankara and Stockholm are currently holding talks to resolve the differences.