Finland’s Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen says it is not the right time for the country to join NATO.
Kaikkonen is in Washington on Thursday, meeting his American colleague Lloyd Austin about the relationship between the countries, the Ukraine crisis, and the security situation in Europe.
“Now, NATO’s main concern is to see how the situation in Ukraine can be deescalated. Right now, it is not the right time to apply for NATO membership,” the Finn said after the meeting, according to public broadcaster Yle.
Kaikkonen said he agreed with Austin on the importance of continuing NATO’s open-door policy. Last week, for the first time, a majority – 53% – of Finns supported joining NATO, according to a poll conducted on behalf of Yle.
Sweden not applying
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson recently said that Sweden would not currently apply for NATO membership as it could further destabilize the situation.
Kaikkonen did not want to comment on Andersson’s position but emphasized that Finland and Sweden make decisions separately.
“At the same time, it is important that we keep each other informed. I am often in contact with my Swedish colleague Peter Hultqvist,” he said.
Last weekend, the two countries met to discuss how Sweden and Finland could strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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