The US expects Sweden to join NATO before the alliance’s summit in Vilnius in July. This was announced on April 19 by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at a meeting with Swedish Defense Minister Paul Jonsson.
Austin recalled that recently Finland became the 31st member of NATO and added that Sweden should become the 32nd.
“We are all counting on a very capable Sweden sitting at the same table next to us this summer in Vilnius,” he said.
Austin added that the kingdom’s accession to NATO will bring many benefits to the alliance. He pointed out that in recent years, Sweden has invested heavily in the modernization of the armed forces, and the US and Swedish military have been successfully working together. The Minister also promised that the United States will continue to work actively to resolve the issue of joining NATO.
At the same time, Austin evaded answering the question of when Turkey will make a positive decision on Sweden’s entry into NATO. According to him, it is important for this to happen “as soon as possible, not later.”
Earlier, on April 15, the official representative of the Turkish President, Ibrahim Kalin, said that Sweden would join NATO only subject to the previously announced condition on joint counterterrorism. According to him, Turkey’s NATO allies should take into account the main goal of the alliance – ensuring the security of states. That is why the member countries should be in solidarity with Ankara in the demand put forward to Stockholm.
Meanwhile, on April 7, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed his confidence that Sweden would become a member of NATO in time for the NATO leaders’ meeting in Vilnius on July 11-12. Speaking of Turkey, he stated that the country had legitimate self-interests which, through discussion, had already led to the successful accession of Finland. Helsinki joined the bloc on 4 April.
Finland and Sweden officially applied to join NATO in May 2022.