Sweden’s, Finland’s membership will strengthen NATO, Lithuanian defmin tells Turkish envoy

  • 2023-03-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership will strengthen security and collective defense of the allies, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas stressed during his meeting with Gorkem Baris Tantekin, Turkey's ambassador to Lithuania, on Thursday.

“One of the fundamental priorities of the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius concerns forward defense, which should form the basis of NATO’s defense attitude and planning. Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership will further strengthen security and collective defense of the allies,” a press release from the Defense Ministry quoted him as saying.

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

Ankara has been reluctant to ratify the two countries’ NATO membership bids so far, although it has indicated recently that it may accept Finland in the Alliance.

The ministry said in the press release that the minister and the ambassador had discussed the key issues of bilateral cooperation, the regional security situation, preparations for the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, and continued provision of military support for Ukraine.

Anusauskas stressed during the meeting that Russia currently posed the biggest threat to the Alliance.

The minister also expressed condolences over the deadly earthquake, which killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria.