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Sweden says Hungary sticking to promise over Nato accession

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Sweden applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) in May last year in a major shift in security strategy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan speaks with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom ahead of the Nato Foreign Ministers meeting at Nato Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, November 28, 2023. Picture: Saul Loeb, Pool via Reuters

STOCKHOLM – Hungary has repeated a promise that it will not be the last Nato country to ratify Sweden’s application to join the alliance, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Tuesday after meeting his Hungarian counterpart earlier in the week.

Sweden applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) in May last year in a major shift in security strategy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It hoped for smooth accession process, but the application has been held up by Turkey and Hungary that have so far refused to support it.

Billstrom said he met Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Brussels on Monday and asked whether Hungary stood by its promise not to be the last Nato member to approve Sweden.

“His clear message was, yes we do. We will not be last,” Billstrom said.

Turkey indicated in late November it could be ready to approve Sweden as a Nato member within a few weeks.

But President Tayyip Erdogan has linked the process to Turkey’s hopes of buying F-16 fighter jets from the United States, a deal Congress has delayed.

Billstrom said Sweden was following the discussions between Turkey and the United States closely, and had not received “any new information” on when Turkey would ratify Sweden’s Nato application.

– REUTERS

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