Swedish FM confirms NATO talks with Turkey on Friday

New members must be unanimously approved but Turkey has blocked Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO, and has set several conditions for the expansion of the defence alliance, reports dpa news agency.
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Representative Image

STOCKHOLM: Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has confirmed that envoys from Finland, Sweden and Turkey are due to meet for talks on Friday over the two Nordic nations joining the NATO.

"The issue is how we should follow up on the agreement that Turkey, Sweden and Finland reached during the NATO summit in Madrid, which was a precondition for Turkey to agree to Sweden's and Finland's requests," Linde told broadcaster SVT on Wednesday.

New members must be unanimously approved but Turkey has blocked Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO, and has set several conditions for the expansion of the defence alliance, reports dpa news agency.

The two incoming Nordic members have pledged to support Turkey against national security threats, among other commitments.

Deportations are also to be made easier.

Specifically, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the two of harbouring members of the Syrian YPG Kurdish militia, as well as members of the Gulenist movement.

The YPG is considered to have links to terrorism by some, but is seen by some Western countries to be the most effective fighting force on the ground in Syria against Islamist extremist groups.

Members of the Gulenist network are accused of organising a 2016 coup attempt.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said meetings between representatives of the three countries are to take place alternately in Finland, Sweden and Turkey in the future.

State Secretary Oscar Stenstrom for Sweden is due to attend the first talks, according to Linde.

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