A decision on Sweden’s accession to NATO is “absolutely possible” between now and the July summit in Lithuania, Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, two days after the re-election of the Turkish president, opposed to the Swedish bid.
“There are no guarantees, but it is absolutely possible to reach a solution leading to a decision on full membership” before the summit, Stoltenberg told a news conference in Oslo.
The Norwegian capital hosts this week an informal meeting of foreign ministers from NATO member countries.
According to the head of the Atlantic organization, there is now “a window” of opportunity, “particularly after the Turkish elections and with the constitution of the Turkish Parliament.” “Of course it’s possible,” he emphasized.
Turkey and Hungary are the only ones of the 31 NATO member countries that have not yet ratified Sweden’s accession to the Alliance.
Sweden initially had the aspiration to join NATO at the same time as Finland, which officially became the 31st member of the military alliance on April 4.
With the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the two Nordic countries decided last year to break away from their traditional neutrality, out of concern for their security.
Erdogan, who this Sunday won a new five-year presidential term, blocked the Swedish candidacy and accused Stockholm of sheltering Turkish opposition personalities and Kurdish activists from movements labeled “terrorists” by Ankara.
Stoltenberg incidentally said that he had maintained “constant contacts with the Turkish authorities” to try to remove the last obstacles to Swedish accession.
As the Turkish Parliament is in the process of being constituted in Ankara, the Turkish foreign minister will not participate this week in Oslo in the meeting of NATO foreign ministers, which will prepare for the Vilnius summit scheduled for July 11 and 12.