NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is in Kultaranta, Finland on Sunday, June 12, 2022, to participate in the Kultaranta talks and meet with President Sauli Niinistö, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and other senior Finnish officials. .
Speaking alongside President Niinistö, the Secretary General stressed that Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership would further strengthen the Alliance’s Nordic region. “The Allies are considering the next steps on your journey to NATO. We must address the security concerns of all Allies, including Turkish concerns about the PKK terrorist group,” Mr. Stoltenberg stressed. “I therefore remain in close contact with you, Sauli, and your colleagues, with Sweden and with our ally Türkiye on the way forward. My staff also remain in close dialogue with officials of the three countries, to address Turkey’s legitimate concerns and to advance your membership in our Alliance,” he said.
Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that the security of Finland and Sweden was important to NATO, and that NATO remained vigilant, with an increased presence in the region and more exercises. He mentioned the BALTOPS exercise, which is currently underway with more than 7,000 forces from 14 NATO allies, as well as Finland and Sweden. Finnish and Swedish forces are also taking part in NATO’s integrated air and missile defense exercise in the Baltic region and in Poland. “These are powerful demonstrations of NATO’s commitment to this strategically important region,” Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General spoke on the opening day of the Kultaranta talks, which this year are themed “A Strong, Stable and Responsible North”, alongside President Niinistö and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Mr Stoltenberg spoke of the difficult 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 imposed demands not only on Ukraine, but also on NATO. These demands amount to a complete rewrite 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 course”.
“The applications from Finland and Sweden to join our alliance send a clear message. Aggression doesn’t pay. Bullying doesn’t work. NATO’s door remains open,” said the Secretary General.
Following his visit to Finland, Mr Stoltenberg will travel to Sweden tomorrow for meetings with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and her government.