The chief of NATO on Friday praised Norway’s contributions to the alliance.
Welcoming Norwegian Prime Minister Gahr Store at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Jens Stoltenberg thanked him for Norway’s prominent role in helping the alliance understand and address challenges in the High North, including by hosting NATO exercises, said a NATO statement.
Also praising Norway for other contributions to NATO, including serving in the multinational battle group in Lithuania, he welcomed Norway’s significant aid to Ukraine since Russia began the war on its neighbor over 13 months ago.
Stoltenberg also stressed the need to continue sustaining assistance for Ukraine, against Russia, according to the statement.
On the NATO bids of Finland and Sweden, he said: “I welcome that Türkiye and Hungary are ready to ratify Finland’s membership of NATO – and I hope that both will do so swiftly.”
On Thursday, the Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission approved a bill to ratify Finland’s NATO bid.
Last June, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum with Türkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns to gain entry into NATO, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement.
Among the NATO member states, only Hungary and Türkiye have not yet ratified Sweden and Finland’s applications to join NATO.
Sweden passed an anti-terror law last November, hoping that Ankara would approve Stockholm’s bid to join the NATO alliance. The new law, which will go into force on June 1, will allow Swedish authorities to prosecute individuals who support terrorist groups.
Turkish officials say that unlike Finland, Sweden has not yet taken enough steps under the memorandum to gain entry into the alliance.