Sweden’s new prime minister on Thursday reiterated his commitment to the memorandum signed between Sweden, Finland, and Türkiye on the Nordic countries’ NATO accession.
“We are very committed to the agreement between Sweden and Finland and Türkiye, and we're doing everything we can as soon as possible to fulfill all the obligations in it,” said Ulf Kristersson in a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The fight against terrorism is of fundamental importance, Kristersson said, adding: “We now are implementing new legislation and that will mean a lot for our possibilities to fulfill our obligations according to the agreements.”
“The agreement itself is what it is. And we are fully committed to it as was the former government. But I think we now have more tools to actually prove in practice that we are delivering what we were promising,” he said.
The Swedish prime minister also said that he is “very prepared” to visit Ankara and “we have already sent that signal to our Turkish friends. We discussed what timetable will be suitable for that trip. So that's in my plan.”
For his part, Stoltenberg said that “We all agree on the importance of the memorandum and the need to address Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns.”
He welcomed steps Sweden is taking on the implementation of the memorandum, ending arms sale restrictions to Türkiye, increasing cooperation on counter-terrorism, and “prohibiting participation in terrorist organizations, including the PKK. And working through the Joint Implementation Mechanism on issues such as extradition and terrorist financing.”
“We also agree that we must stand together as we face the greatest security crisis in a generation,” he added.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in June, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.
However, Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the two countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.
The three countries signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding at NATO's June summit in Madrid, which stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the YPG/PYD – the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot – or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye.
Finland and Sweden also agreed to address Ankara’s pending deportation or extradition requests for terror suspects.
Türkiye’s parliament must ratify membership the countries’ membership bids for them to join NATO.