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NATO member-to-be Sweden and the US sign defense deal, saying it strengthens regional security

On the brink of becoming a member of NATO, Sweden has signed a defense cooperation settlement with Washington that may permit the United States entry to all of the navy bases throughout the Scandinavian nation, saying the deal would bolster regional security

STOCKHOLM — On the brink of becoming a member of NATO, Sweden has signed a defense cooperation settlement with Washington that may permit the United States entry to all of the navy bases throughout the Scandinavian nation, saying the deal would bolster regional security.

Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson stated the deal, signed in Washington Tuesday, “will create better conditions for Sweden to be able to receive support from the United States in the event of a war or crisis.”

Jonson informed Swedish broadcaster SVT that it didn’t imply that “all 17 locations will be used“ but ”the place it is most essential from a navy perspective for them to have the ability to retailer defense tools, for instance.”

The deal was signed at the Pentagon by Jonson and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who stated that by including the capabilities of the Swedish armed forces to NATO, ”we’ll get even stronger.”

The deal “sends a strong signal that we remain committed to addressing security challenges together,” Austin stated.

Sweden’s strategically essential Baltic Sea island of Gotland sits somewhat greater than 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad.

The United States struck an identical cope with Sweden’s western neighbor, NATO member Norway, in 2021 and is presently negotiating such an settlement with NATO members Finland and Denmark, two different Nordic nations.

Sweden and its neighbor Finland determined to drop their long-standing coverage of non-alignment and apply for NATO membership following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine final yr. Finland joined NATO in April.

New members should be authorised by all current members of the alliance. Turkey and Hungary are the solely NATO nations that haven’t formally authorised Sweden’s accession bid.

Turkey has delayed ratification for greater than a yr, accusing Sweden of not taking Turkey’s security issues severely sufficient, together with its battle towards Kurdish militants and different teams that Ankara considers to be security threats.

In feedback revealed Wednesday by state-run Anadolu Agency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan linked the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership to the approval by the U.S. Congress of Turkey’s request to buy 40 F-16 fighter jets and kits to modernize its current fleet.

The request has been backed by the White House however run into opposition in Congress.

“I fulfilled my duty, but I also expect something from you,” Erdogan informed a bunch of journalists, on his means again from Qatar the place he attended the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council Council summit. “You (the United States) ought to cross the (F-16s) challenge concurrently in your Congress.”

Last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated he informed Turkey’s president that “the time has come” to let Sweden grow to be a member of the navy alliance.

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