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NATO: Macron calls on Erdogan to “respect the sovereign choice” of Finland and Sweden


Faced with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reluctance, Emmanuel Macron calls for “respecting the sovereign choice” of Finland and Sweden to join NATO. The French president, who spoke with his Turkish counterpart by telephone, also explained that he wanted a “solution” to be quickly found to lift the veto.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday called on his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “respect the sovereign choice” of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, and hoped that a “solution” would be quickly found to lift the Turkish veto threat. “The President of the Republic underlined the importance of respecting the sovereign choice of these two countries, resulting from a democratic process and intervening in reaction to the evolution of their security environment”, indicated the Elysée to the outcome of the call between the two leaders which lasted an hour.

Entry into the alliance requires the unanimity of the members

“He wanted discussions to continue to find a quick solution” to Turkish opposition to the two candidacies, added the French presidency. The two Nordic countries, breaking with a long tradition of neutrality, decided to join NATO in reaction to the offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine on February 24. But Turkey threatens to block their entry into the Alliance, which requires the unanimity of the member states of the organization.

Ankara notably accuses the two countries of harboring Kurdish militants from the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party which it considers a terrorist organization, and is asking for their extradition. Turkey is also considering a new operation against the Kurds in northern Syria, which risks sparking new tensions within NATO, particularly with France.

The urgency of grain exports mentioned

The French and Turkish presidents also spoke of “the urgency of making possible the export of Ukrainian cereals”, blocked by the war in the ports of the south of the country, which threatens to lead to a world food crisis. Emmanuel Macron will continue “in the coming days contacts on this subject with the relevant international actors”. They discussed “different possible routes to transport” these harvests, in connection with the United Nations, and “agreed to stay in contact in order to find a solution quickly”.

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One of the avenues studied is the establishment of a naval corridor from Odessa, in the Black Sea, in which Turkey could be an important player. The two leaders also expressed “their concern over the deterioration of the situation in Libya”.

After more than a decade of chaos following the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya, plagued by divisions between competing institutions in East and West, has had two rival governments since early March, as between 2014 and 2021 , then in the midst of a civil war. A government formed by ex-interior minister Fathi Bachagha, approved by the parliament sitting in the east, is in competition with the executive in Tripoli led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, born out of political agreements sponsored by the UN.

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