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Finland, Sweden committed to joining NATO together: PMs

Stockholm, Feb 3 (IANS) Finland remains determined to join the NATO military alliance together with Sweden, visiting Prime Minister Sanna Marin said when she met her Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson here.

The two leaders on Thursday also discussed Sweden’s current Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) and the security situation, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Last spring, we started our common path to join NATO. This journey must be made hand in hand and in common accord, just like we started it,” Marin said in a joint press conference with Kristersson on Thursday.

Her remark came three days after Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country could evaluate Finland’s NATO bid separately from Sweden’s to distinguish “between a problematic country and a less problematic one”.

The issue became no less topical after Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported on the result of a poll showing that the majority of Finns were ready to join NATO without Sweden, Swedish Television (SVT) reported on Thursday.

Asked by a reporter about the result of the poll, Marin reiterated that Finland intends to join NATO together with Sweden.

“I think it is very important that we today send a very clear message: Finland and Sweden applied together, and it is in everybody’s interest that we join NATO together,” she said.

At a press conference in Ankara on Monday, Cavusoglu had said that although the two Nordic countries had requested to join NATO together, Finland had taken some steps, while there were “provocations” in Sweden.

Among other things, Turkey has objected to a demonstration in Stockholm, where a copy of the Holy Quran was burnt outside the Turkish Embassy.

Ankara has also postponed a trilateral meeting with Sweden and Finland on their NATO bids.