Sweden, Finland's stalling NATO membership sends signal to enemies – Lithuanian formin

  • 2023-02-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As Turkey stalls Sweden and Finland's NATO membership, it sends a signal to enemies, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says.

"It sends a clear signal to our rivals and potential enemies. Some of those enemies may not be obvious yet. If this is not resolved, the situation will become very dangerous and it will give our enemies an incentive to act," Landsbergis said in an interview with the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter on Friday.

The Alliance must allow Sweden and Finland to join if it wants to appear strong and send a message to "those who want to see us weak", Lithuania's top diplomat said.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland abandoned their long-standing non-alignment policy and applied to join NATO in May, 2022.

However, Turkey is blocking their bid to join the Alliance, accusing Sweden of giving asylum to what it considers "terrorists", in particular members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Recent tensions have been fueled by a protest in Sweden when a Koran was burnt. However, Lithuania hopes that Sweden and Finland will already be full members of NATO when NATO member countries meet in Vilnius in July.