Sweden’s Advancement in NATO Membership Boosts NATO Summit

by Chloe Baker
NATO summit

The NATO summit, commencing on Tuesday, has gained fresh momentum as Turkey has withdrawn its objections to Sweden joining the alliance. This development signifies a step towards the unity that Western leaders are eager to demonstrate in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds significant importance for Sweden’s bid for membership and helps alleviate tensions in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his enthusiasm, calling it a historic day, as he announced the agreement following several days of intensive meetings.

In addition to Turkey’s approval, Erdogan has committed to seeking parliamentary approval for Sweden’s NATO membership, a move that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is also expected to follow.

This outcome is seen as a victory for U.S. President Joe Biden, who has emphasized NATO’s expansion as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has had unintended consequences for Moscow. With Finland already joining as the 31st member, Sweden is poised to become the 32nd member of the alliance.

President Biden arrived in Vilnius on Monday evening and is scheduled to meet with President Erdogan on Tuesday evening. He will also participate in a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, of which Sweden is already a member, in the afternoon.

It remains uncertain how Erdogan’s other demands will be addressed, such as acquiring advanced American fighter jets and pursuing membership in the European Union. Although the White House has expressed support for these aspirations, it has made it clear that they are not directly linked to Sweden’s NATO membership.

In a statement, President Biden thanked Erdogan for committing to transmit Sweden’s ascension protocol to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly for swift ratification. He also expressed his readiness to work with Erdogan and Turkey to enhance defense and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area. This acknowledgment includes Biden’s commitment to assist Turkey in acquiring new F-16 fighter jets, as per an administration official.

The Biden administration has supported Turkey’s request to purchase 40 new F-16s, as well as modernization kits from the United States. However, this move has faced opposition from some members of Congress, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, due to concerns about Turkey’s blocking of Sweden’s NATO membership, its human rights record, and other issues.

An anonymous administration official stated that the White House had been cautiously hopeful but uncertain whether Erdogan would agree before the summit. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan have been actively engaged in phone conversations with Erdogan and senior Turkish and Swedish officials.

At the summit, NATO leaders will address other significant matters, particularly Ukraine’s desire to join the alliance. While Baltic states, including Lithuania as the host, have urged strong support and a clear pathway to membership for Ukraine, the United States and Germany have been more cautious. President Biden recently stated that Ukraine is not yet ready to join NATO, emphasizing the need for fulfilling all qualifications, including democratization and addressing concerns about governance and corruption in Kyiv.

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg proposed in Foreign Affairs that the alliance would enhance its political ties by establishing a NATO-Ukraine Council, serving as a platform for decision-making and crisis consultation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to attend the summit and plans to meet with President Biden, although official announcements have not been made yet.

Stoltenberg reaffirmed the commitment made in 2008 by President George W. Bush that Ukraine will eventually become a NATO member. However, he did not provide specific details.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that NATO has agreed to forgo the requirement for a “membership action plan,” which he believes will expedite Ukraine’s path to NATO.

Before the NATO summit, President Biden visited the United Kingdom, where he met with King Charles III for the first time since his ascension to the throne. They discussed mobilizing financial support to combat climate change during their meeting at Windsor Castle. The President also held a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street, reflecting the close ties between the two countries.

Following the NATO summit, President Biden will travel to Helsinki to celebrate Finland’s recent entry into NATO and meet with Nordic leaders.

This report was contributed to by Aamer Madhani, Zeke Miller, and Lisa Mascaro from Big Big News in Washington.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NATO summit

What is the significance of Turkey withdrawing its objections to Sweden joining NATO?

Turkey’s withdrawal of objections to Sweden joining NATO is significant because it paves the way for Sweden’s membership in the alliance. This decision helps demonstrate unity among Western leaders in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and alleviates tensions in Lithuania, where the NATO summit is being held.

How does Sweden’s advancement in NATO membership benefit the alliance?

Sweden’s advancement in NATO membership strengthens the alliance by expanding its reach and increasing its collective defense capabilities. It allows for closer cooperation with Sweden in addressing security challenges and sends a clear message of solidarity and deterrence to potential adversaries, particularly in light of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

What other demands did Turkish President Erdogan have, and how will they be resolved?

Apart from Sweden’s NATO membership, Turkish President Erdogan had additional demands, including acquiring advanced American fighter jets and pursuing membership in the European Union. The resolution of these demands is still uncertain, although the White House has expressed support for both. However, it is emphasized that these issues are not directly linked to Sweden’s membership in NATO.

Why is Ukraine’s desire to join NATO a topic of discussion at the summit?

Ukraine’s desire to join NATO is a significant topic at the summit due to the ongoing conflict with Russia and its implications for regional security. While some NATO members, such as the Baltic states, advocate for a clear pathway to membership for Ukraine, others, including the United States and Germany, have expressed caution. Concerns about Ukraine’s readiness, governance, corruption, and potential provocation to Russia are among the factors shaping this discussion.

How does President Biden’s involvement contribute to NATO’s expansion?

President Biden has been actively involved in promoting NATO’s expansion as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. His support for Sweden’s NATO membership and commitment to assisting Turkey in acquiring advanced fighter jets demonstrate the United States’ commitment to strengthening the alliance. Biden’s presence at the summit and his engagement with world leaders further reinforce NATO’s unity and collective defense efforts.

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LinguaFanatic July 11, 2023 - 4:38 am

Great to see Sweden’s bid for NATO membership gaining momentum. Turkey’s decision to drop objections is a positive step towards unity. The focus on Ukraine’s membership and Biden’s involvement add extra layers of significance to the summit. Exciting times ahead!

Bookworm22 July 11, 2023 - 5:12 am

Nice to see NATO expanding and standing strong! Ukraine’s desire to join is a big deal, but there are valid concerns that need to be addressed. Biden’s involvement shows his commitment to the alliance. Can’t wait to see how this summit unfolds!

User123 July 12, 2023 - 4:22 am

wow, this text is so interesting n imptnt! i like how turkey is finally agreeing 2 let sweden join nato. it makes them stronger 2gether against russia n stuff. go team!


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