Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristerson said his country wants to return to “dialogue” with Turkey to join NATO after talks with Ankara broke off due to the burning of the Holy Quran.
Kristerson said: “Our common message is that we want to call for calm and reflection, calm in the process, so that we can return to the dialogue between Sweden, Finland and Turkey about our joint NATO membership.”
Earlier Tuesday, Turkey announced it was postponing NATO accession talks with Sweden and Finland, which were originally scheduled for February.
Kristerson said: “There are provocateurs who wanted to spoil Sweden’s relations with other countries and interfere with its desire to join the Western military alliance led by the United States.”
He added: “There is no more important issue of national security than the fact that we, together with Finland, are quickly becoming members of NATO.”
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told public broadcaster Yili that uniting the two Nordic countries remains the first option, but “we must of course assess the situation and examine what has happened in the long term to prevent Sweden from moving forward.”
“We understand the frustration of the Finns at the moment as we are not yet a member of NATO, but we are focused on a clear message that Finland still wants to join NATO along with Sweden,” he added.