Finland will apply to join NATO, confirms president; NATO deputy chief says confident on finding consensus

NATO's Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said, "I am confident if these countries decide to seek membership in NATO we will be able to welcome them, to find all conditions for consensus to be met."

By Ashita Singh
Sun, 15 May 2022 05:26 PM IST
Minute Read
Finland will apply to join NATO, confirms president; NATO deputy chief says confident on finding consensus
Pic Credits- Reuters

Helsinki | Jagran World Desk: Finland's President Sauli Niinisto confirmed on Sunday that his country would apply for membership of the NATO military alliance, in a historic policy shift prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. After the nation announced so, NATO's deputy chief said that " NATO is confident that it can overcome objections by Turkey and quickly admit Finland and Sweden, as the alliance prepares for a historic enlargement in the Nordic region prompted by Russia's war on Ukraine.

NATO's Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said, "I am confident if these countries decide to seek membership in NATO we will be able to welcome them, to find all conditions for consensus to be met."

Earlier, Moscow, which shares a 1,300 km (800 mile) border with Finland, has said it would be a mistake for Helsinki to join the 30-strong transatlantic alliance and that it would harm bilateral ties. Also, Sweden is also expected to follow suit as public support for membership has grown amid security concerns.

Meanwhile, Finland's Sunday announcement comes after Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday they both favoured NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) membership, giving a green light for the country to apply.

"Today, we, the president and the government's foreign policy committee, have together decided that Finland ... will apply for NATO membership," Niinisto told reporters in the presidential palace in Helsinki.

Niinisto called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to tell him of Finland's plans to join the alliance. Putin said such a move would hurt Russian-Finnish relations.

"I, or Finland, are not known to sneak around and quietly disappear behind a corner. It is better to say it straight what already has been said, also to the concerned party and that is what I wanted to do," he said about his call on Sunday.

The Finnish president expressed readiness to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan after Ankara raised objections to the Nordic countries joining NATO. As a NATO member, Turkey could veto their applications.

Niinisto said he was "a bit confused" about what he said was a shift in Turkey's stance. "What we need now is a very clear answer, I am prepared to have a new discussion with President Erdogan about the problems he has raised."

On Saturday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu unexpectedly raised objections, saying it was "unacceptable and outrageous" that the prospective new NATO members supported the outlawed Kurdish militant group PKK.

It was not immediately clear whether discussions between Cavusoglu and several NATO foreign ministers as well as their Finnish and Swedish counterparts later in the evening had yielded any progress in resolving the dispute.

(With Reuters Inputs)

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.