During a visit to Sweden on Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underlined the alliance’s commitment to Swedish and Finnish security (13 June 2022). Mr Stoltenberg stated during a news conference with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that “Sweden and Finland’s security importance for NATO.”
The Secretary General was hosted by Prime Minister Andersson, Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde, and Minister for Defense Peter Hulqvist at the Prime Minister’s residence in Harpsund. He also had meetings with the whole Swedish government. During the meeting, the Secretary General and his Swedish counterparts reviewed the fundamentally altered security environment as a result of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, and they agreed that continued assistance for Ukraine is essential.
Mr. Stoltenberg praised Sweden and Finland on their decisions to join NATO, calling it “a historic step at a vital time for our security.” He stated that Sweden and Finland joining NATO would promote tighter Nordic and Baltic defense cooperation, bolster NATO’s position in the High North, and increase overall transatlantic security.
The Secretary General stated that he and his team continue to maintain regular contact with all parties in order to address Turkey’s legitimate concerns regarding the terrorist PKK organisation, as well as to expedite Sweden and Finland’s membership applications. He praised the Swedish government’s willingness to address Turkey’s concerns, citing revisions to Sweden’s counter-terrorism legislation framework as well as efforts to guarantee that Sweden’s “legal foundation for armaments” is up to date.
Mr. Stoltenberg noted that Sweden has received security assurances from numerous NATO countries since its application, and the Alliance has increased its presence and exercises in the region. BALTOPS 2022, NATO’s largest exercise in the Baltic Sea, is presently being held in Sweden, involving over 7,000 forces from 14 Allies and Partners, including Sweden and Finland. In the Baltic area and Poland, both countries are taking part in NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense exercise.