Finland’s president Niinistö tells Putin his country will apply to join Nato

Finland’s president has advised Vladimir Putin of the Nordic nation’s plans to use for Nato membership as a high Turkish aide downplayed fears that Ankara may torpedo its bid.

Sauli Niinistö referred to as Putin on Saturday to clarify how Russia’s demand in late 2021 that Finland and Sweden not apply for Nato membership adopted by its invasion of Ukraine in February had basically altered the safety setting.

“The conversation was direct and straightforward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” Niinistö mentioned.

Putin responded that Finland could be incorrect to desert its neutrality and that in search of membership of the western defence alliance would harm relations between the 2 nations.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted public assist for Nato membership to surge in Finland and Sweden, forcing politicians to undertake pressing safety evaluations.

Finland’s authorities will resolve on Sunday to use for Nato membership with the formal software despatched a while subsequent week after parliament debates it on Monday.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats will decide on Sunday with the whole lot pointing to an software to hitch, a choice the federal government may tackle Monday.

A joint software may very well be despatched on Tuesday or Wednesday when Niinistö makes a state go to to Stockholm.

The primary hiccup within the software course of got here on Friday when Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan referred to “Scandinavian countries” as “some kind of guest house for terrorist organisations”, and mentioned concerning the potential purposes that Ankara couldn’t “look positively at this”.

İbrahim Kalın, Turkey’s presidential spokesman, advised Reuters on Saturday that it was in search of negotiations with Sweden and others over its considerations and that it was “not closing door” to their membership bids.

Kalın mentioned that Sweden, specifically, wanted to take motion towards the Kurdistan Employees’ occasion (PKK), an armed militia that has waged a decades-long armed insurgency towards the Turkish state and is assessed as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the US and the EU. Sweden has a big Kurdish minority.

“What needs to be done is clear: they have to stop allowing PKK outlets, activities, organisations, individuals and other types of presence to . . . exist in those countries,” Kalın mentioned.

Niinistö advised state broadcaster Yle: “I wouldn’t speculate at all that this would mean Turkey throwing a spanner in the works for good. Until now Turkey’s message to us has been completely the opposite.”

“This is sure to lead to discussion, seeing as the US appears to have reacted,” he mentioned.

Nato international ministers will meet in Berlin this weekend and the US mentioned late on Friday that it might search to “clarify” Turkey’s place.

Niinistö spoke to Joe Biden on Friday along with Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson. The Finnish president mentioned after the decision: “I went through Finland’s next steps towards Nato membership. Finland deeply appreciates all the necessary support from the US.”

In his name with Putin, Niinistö mentioned that Finland was maximising its safety. “By joining Nato, Finland strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibility. It is not away from anyone else. Also in the future, Finland wants to take care of the practical questions arising from being a neighbour of Russia in a correct and professional manner,” Finland’s presidential workplace mentioned.

Any software by Finland and Sweden would have to be ratified by all 30 nations, a course of that would take six to 12 months. Swedish and Finnish officers mentioned on Friday that their contacts with Turkish ministers and different officers had been constructive till now.

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