Swedish prime minister says NATO talks with Ankara will resume in mid-March -SVT
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s prime minister said on Wednesday talks with Turkey regarding NATO membership will resume in mid-March after stalling in January in the wake of a Koran-burning protest.
“There is also a date, it’s not a secret but we’re waiting for confirmation,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said during an interview with Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the trans-Atlantic defence pact after Russia invaded Ukraine, but Sweden faced unexpected objections from Turkey.
Ankara accuses Stockholm of harbouring what Turkey considers members of terrorist groups, and has demanded their extradition as a step towards giving Sweden’s NATO membership its green light.
Talks on NATO between Finland, Sweden and Turkey have been stalled since January after a copy of the Koran was burned outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm by Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line.
However on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the suspended talks would resume soon, which Kristersson later said he welcomed.
(Reporting by Marie Mannes; Editing by Chris Reese and Lincoln Feast.)