The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg is in Kultaranta, Finland, on Sunday (12 June 2022), attending the Kultaranta Talks and meeting with the President, Sauli Niinistö, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pekka Haavisto, and other senior Finnish officials.
Speaking alongside President Niinistö, the Secretary General stressed that Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO would further strengthen the Nordic region of the Alliance. “Allies are considering the next steps on your path to NATO. We have to address the security concerns of all Allies, including Turkish concerns about the terrorist group PKK,” Mr. Stoltenberg underlined. “So I remain in close contact with you, Sauli, and your colleagues, with Sweden, and with our Ally Türkiye on the way ahead. My staff also remain in close dialogue with officials from all three countries, to address the legitimate Turkish concerns, and to move forward on your accession to our Alliance,” he said.
Mr. Stoltenberg emphasised that the security of Finland and Sweden matters to NATO, and that NATO remains vigilant, with increased presence in the region and more exercises. He mentioned exercise BALTOPS, which is currently underway with over 7,000 forces from 14 NATO Allies, as well as from Finland and Sweden. Finnish and Swedish forces are also participating in NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence exercise across the Baltic region and Poland. “These are powerful demonstrations of NATO’s commitment to this region of strategic importance,” Mr. Stoltenberg emphasised.
The Secretary General spoke on the opening day of the Kultaranta Talks, which this year has the theme of “Strong, stable and responsible North”, together with President Niinistö and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Mr. Stoltenberg discussed the challenging security environment, with Russia’s “cruel war against a peaceful neighbour”. He warned that “Putin’s ambitions go beyond Ukraine. The so-called ‘security treaties’ he presented to NATO and the United States last December made demands not only on Ukraine, but also on NATO. These demands amount to the complete re-write of the European security order, enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act. One of the main principles of the Final Act is the right of each nation to choose its own path”.
“The applications by Finland and Sweden to join our Alliance send a clear message. Aggression does not pay. Intimidation does not work. NATO’s door remains open,” the Secretary General said.
Following his visit to Finland, Mr. Stoltenberg will travel to Sweden, for meetings with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and her government.