NATO promises help to the Baltic and Ukraine, calls on Turkey to release Nordic countries –

  • NATO summit over three days in Madrid; Biden will attend
  • Turkey’s veto on the application of Sweden and Finland is a big problem
  • NATO will agree on a new defense for the Baltic region
  • The aid package to Ukraine aims at long-term support

MADRID, June 27 (Reuters) – NATO leaders will call on Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to lift a veto on Finland and Sweden’s attempt to join a military alliance when they meet at a three-day summit on Tuesday as the West seeks to send a signal of determination to Russia and China. .

Held in the shadow of the Russian war in Ukraine, the gathering in Madrid takes place at a crucial time for transatlantic ties following the failure in Afghanistan and internal strife during the era of former US President Donald Trump, who threatened to withdraw Washington from the nuclear alliance.

Diplomats said negotiations among the often rampant organization are still ongoing, but leaders also hope to agree to provide more military aid to Ukraine, increase joint defense spending, consolidate a new decision to tackle China’s military rise and put more soldiers in peace … to defend the Baltic.

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Spain, whose king will host a dinner for leaders, is also pushing for a greater NATO focus on the southern flank to address migration and militant groups in the Sahel region of Africa.

The leaders of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea are expected to attend part of the summit as part of a broader U.S. strategy for a stronger Western presence in the Indo-Pacific region to oppose China.

“We will do more to ensure that we can defend every inch of Allied territory, at all times and from any threat,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a speech last week.

Although British and US officials have consulted against the Baltic demand for a permanent multinational force in the region, a compromise is likely to be reached at the summit with promising quick reinforcements. Read more

Germany has already said it will put more troops on standby to defend Lithuania if Russia tries to occupy NATO territory, and Britain is expected to do the same for Estonia, while Latvia is asking Canada to promise more troops there.


NATO – created in 1949 to counter the Soviet threat – has no contractual obligation to defend Ukraine, as the former Soviet republic is not a member of NATO.

But the invasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 caused a geopolitical shift as once neutral countries Finland and Sweden want to join the North Atlantic Alliance, and Ukraine has officially become a candidate to join the European Union.

If accepted, the inclusion of Finland and Sweden in NATO would bring about the expansion of the alliance that the Russian leader wanted to prevent.

“I think it sends an important message to Putin. And I think it would actually significantly strengthen the alliance,” U.S. Senator Angus King said of Finland and Sweden, after traveling to Finland, Latvia and Turkey.

However, Turkey is also testing that unity, angry at what it says is Helsinki’s and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish militants and the arms embargo on Ankara.

A Turkish government official involved in talks between the three countries and NATO’s Stoltenberg told Reuters that it would be difficult to reach an agreement at the summit, saying Sweden and Finland must first address Turkey’s concerns.

“There have been meetings, but unfortunately the steps we expected have not been taken,” the official said.

Sweden has established a process for ongoing consultations, diplomats said. But two senior NATO diplomats said the dispute was less about technical standards and more about politics.

Erdogan’s stance proved popular at home ahead of the June 2023 presidential election as he sought to challenge U.S. and European priorities. In recent weeks, he has threatened new military operations in northern Syria, fueled tensions with another NATO member, Greece, and refused to join Western sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine.

“I think there is almost no chance that this issue will be resolved at the Madrid summit,” said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkish analyst at the Washington Institute, an American think tank.

US President Joe Biden could hold a meeting with Erdogan on the sidelines of a NATO summit to boost progress with Finland and Sweden, whose leaders will be in Madrid.

But Cagaptay added that Erdogan could try to take advantage of the situation to increase his popularity and call possible early elections in November ahead of official votes in June 2023.

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Additional reports by Sabine Siebold, Andrea Shalal and Belen Carreno in Madrid and Jonathan Spicer and Orhan Coskun in Ankara; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our standards: Principles of trust of Thomson Reuters.

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