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UNI News
  • Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Czech Republic supports accession of Sweden, Finland to NATO

Moscow, May 15 (UNI/Sputnik) Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said that the Czech Republic fully supports the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. "We warmly welcome Finland and Sweden, and support their interest in joining [NATO], we consider them friends. This is the position I am going to convey to my counterparts," Lipavsky said at the doorstep of the informal meeting of NATO ministers of foreign affairs in Berlin held earlier on Saturday. Lipavsky said that there is still a long way toward expanding the alliance by accepting these two countries, adding that a political consensus is yet to be reached. Nevertheless, he said, there will be the question of ratification in national parliaments soon after the consensus is reached. The minister noted that the protection of the NATO eastern border is now the priority for the alliance. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also voiced her support for the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, saying that Tallinn was ready to provide both Northern European countries with military and cybersecurity assistance. "Both Finland and Sweden still have a lot of concerns about the period between the application and the actual accession to NATO. Therefore, we were able to assure them that Finns and Swedes will be able to deal with all potential dangers that can occur, for example in cyberspace, that we were able to deal with," Kallas told Estonian broadcaster ERR. She noted that Tallinn has the capabilities to change the mind of the current NATO member countries opposing Sweden and Finland joining NATO. "We can use diplomatic channels to find out what worries Turkey and dispel worries these fear. All other allied countries can do the same. Obviously, Turkeys need more time to think this through," Kallas said. In March, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will fast-track the membership applications of Finland and Sweden if they decide to join. On Thursday, both Finland and Sweden officially confirmed their plans to join NATO. The United States and Germany have already pledged support to the Nordic states if they choose to apply for membership in the alliance. UNI/SPUTNIK GNK