Swedish PM says Stockholm 'decisive' in fighting terrorism

By Agencies July 11, 2023 4232

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Tuesday said that his country is "decisive" in the fight against terrorism and organized crime.

"We are here for the long term and we are decisive in the fight against terrorism and organized crime," Kristersson said, referring to some of Türkiye’s top concerns in giving Sweden a green light for membership in the NATO military alliance.

"I think Sweden has a lot to the bring to the table as well," he said, speaking in Vilnius, Lithuania amid a NATO summit, after it got the membership green light late Monday.

Saying that "very important" decision-making steps were made yesterday on Sweden's NATO membership bid, he said that he expects the ratification process to be completed "as soon as possible," like NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"So I am happy with the result and look forward to the final ratifications," he added.

Stressing that his country – an EU member since 1995 – favors close ties between the EU and Türkiye, the premier said, listing longstanding issues between Türkiye and the bloc: "Now we are promoting closing economic bonds, modernization of the Customs Union, providing better visa regulations, and so forth."

"During the fall of this year we will restart talks about how to regain cooperation with Türkiye," he said, and added: "It’s good."

Sweden's accession to NATO following Finland has been one of the main issues of the summit. As Stoltenberg announced on the eve of the summit, Türkiye agreed to send Sweden's NATO Accession Protocol to parliament following a trilateral meeting between himself, Kristersson, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Sweden agreed today, as an EU member, also to support actively the efforts to reinvigorate Türkiye's EU accession process, and also to help modernize the EU-Türkiye Customs Union and visa liberalization," Kristersson added, listing more sticking points between Türkiye and the bloc.

Earlier, Erdogan said the Turkish people expect steps forward from the EU as Türkiye does its part with Sweden’s NATO accession.

Sweden's cooperation with Türkiye in the fight against terrorism is also set to continue beyond its accession, as announced on Monday, as both countries agreed to establish a new bilateral security compact, including a new special counter-terrorism coordinator for "stepping up its work in this area."

Sweden and Finland decided to seek NATO membership after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022. While Finland gained membership this April, Türkiye said Sweden would need to address its security concerns – particularly over terrorism – before getting its green light.

New members of NATO must get unanimous agreement from all the current members. Türkiye has been a NATO member for over 70 years, and boasts its second-largest army.


All 5 Nordic nations set to be in NATO

Also speaking in Lithuania, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said that finally all five Nordic countries will be in the alliance for the first time, stressing that NATO poses a threat to no one.

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda said that the NATO meeting is already historic even before it begins because of yesterday’s positive outcome between Türkiye and Sweden.

Nausea said he also hoped for a “bold enough” decision for Ukraine as an outcome of the summit, adding that it will be possible for Kyiv to be a full-fledged member when the war is over.

“We are not opening the doors of NATO now,” he said.

Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that she hopes the alliance adopts new security plans today, adding that better defense “requires all of us to spend more.”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, said that his country will step up its training of Ukrainian troops.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the agreement on Sweden's accession, underlining how France has reinforced its military presence on NATO's eastern flank since the war broke out in Ukraine.

"Our doctrine is to help Ukraine defend its territory,” Macron said, adding that France will deliver more missiles to Ukraine, but without giving further details./aa