NATO chief makes eleventh hour attempt to secure Sweden’s membership ahead of summit

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that he will convene an urgent meeting soon to resolve Turkey’s objections to Sweden’s membership in an eleventh hour effort ahead of the alliance’s upcoming summit.

Stoltenberg said in a press conference: “I spoke yesterday to [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and I'm also in contact with the Swedish… government. And we agreed to convene a high-level meeting in Brussels before the Summit.”

“This meeting will include foreign ministers, heads of intelligence, and national security advisors. The aim is to make progress in completing Sweden's accession to NATO,” he added, stressing that Sweden’s accession would further strengthen Baltic security.

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Erdogan had a day earlier told Stoltenberg in a call that Sweden had to stop protests by supporters of the Ankara-criminalized Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Stockholm if it wanted Turkey to approve its NATO membership.

Turkey ratified Finland's NATO accession in late March, however, it raised objections to Sweden's membership, alleging that Stockholm supported Kurdish militants, namely the PKK, which Ankara deems a terrorist organization.

With the NATO leaders summit scheduled for mid-July in Lithuania, the membership of Sweden has emerged as a top priority for the alliance.

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