North Atlantic Council (NAC) is set to meet at Defence Ministers’ level on Wednesday, June 15 and Thursday, June 16 at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The NATO Defence Ministers' next month meeting will be chaired by the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Additionally, NATO said in a statement that a separate meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group, hosted by the United States, will also take place at NATO headquarters on June 15.
The NATO Defence Ministers are set to meet as Finland and Sweden have moved to official procedures in their bid to join the alliance. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that he is confident that both Finland and Sweden's applications to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will move forward despite the objections from Turkey. Blinken has said, “Finland and Sweden are working directly with Turkey to address some of the concerns that it raised”.
"There is a very strong consensus in NATO for the admission of Finland and Sweden, and I remain confident that we will work through this process swiftly and that things will move forward with both countries,” added the US Secretary of State during Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto's visit to the State Department on Friday.
As Sweden and Finland’s prospect of joining NATO receives support from the West, the Turkish Foreign Minister has said that both Nordic countries must now take ‘concrete steps’ to alleviate their nation’s security concerns to overcome Ankara’s objections to their NATO membership bid. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that delegations from both nations have returned home with Ankara’s demands following a visit this week. Turkey now awaits a response from Finland and Sweden.
It is to note here that Finland and Sweden’s bids require support from all NATO nations but Turkey is adamant in objecting to them citing its own concerns. Ankara has even alleged support for Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists and restrictions on weapons sales to Turkey. Finish Foreign Minister has said, "Turkey has raised some concerns regarding the PKK issue, terrorist issues that for PKK is a forbidden organisation in Finland."
"We are part of those solutions in the European Union where terrorist organizations are listed. It's the same in Sweden and so forth. And these are the answers that we are giving, of course, in this case to to Turkey,” Haavisto added.
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