Finland suggests it may consider joining NATO without Sweden

Finnish and Ukrainian presidents meet in Kyiv
Finnish and Ukrainian presidents meet in Kyiv Copyright SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP or licensors
By Glynis Crook with AP
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Following Turkish outrage at a pro-Kurd demonstration in Sweden, Finland said it might consider decoupling its NATO application from its Nordic neighbour.


Finland has suggested it might consider moving ahead with its application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) without its neighbour Sweden.

Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto told Finnish broadcaster Yle the government would have to reevaluate the situation if Sweden’s application was stalled for a long time.

It is the first time a top government official in either country has appeared to raise doubts over joining the alliance together.

Haavisto later told reporters that his comment had been "imprecise" and Finland's plan to join NATO at the same time as Sweden remained unchanged.

The softening of his statement was later reiterated by Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto who said the objective was still for the two countries to join together.

‘"We have to take it calmly, but undoubtedly it seems to be the case that we have to wait for the election in Turkey to take place," he said.

His comments come after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded angrily to a pro-Kurdish demonstration in the Swedish capital Stockholm on Saturday.

On the same day, a far-right activist burned a copy of the Qu’ran during a protest outside the Turkish embassy in the city.

The bid by the two Nordic countries to join NATO needs the approval of all existing members, including Turkey. But up until now, Ankara has blocked the expansion. It has said in the past that Sweden, in particular, needed to crack down on exiled Kurdish militants and their sympathisers.

For more watch Euronews' report in the video above.

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