GENEVA, January 19. /TASS/. Finland and Sweden will become full members of NATO this year, said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday.
"I am absolutely convinced that Finland and Sweden will join [NATO]," he said, speaking at the Ukrainian Breakfast on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. "It is historically logical, it is their wish, they should be part of NATO. But at this moment, this is not yet possible because still negotiations are ongoing," the Dutch leader added. "I’m myself also in talks with the President of Turkey [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] and others to somehow find a way forward, dialoguing about how to make this happen. I would assume it all will not happen the next week and maybe not even the next month, but it will certainly, I am convinced, happen this year," the politician asserted.
On May 18, 2022, Helsinki and Stockholm submitted their applications to join the US-led military bloc but the process was blocked by Turkey who demanded that the two countries designate Kurdish organizations as terrorist groups, extradite those suspected of terrorism and being involved in the 2016 coup d’etat to Ankara, and lift bans on weapons supplies to Turkey. Talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, then Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took place in Madrid on June 28, 2022. As a result, a memorandum was signed making it possible for Sweden and Finland to join NATO. The Turkish leader stated that Sweden had pledged to extradite over 70 people involved in terrorist activities.