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Hungary to ratify Finland's Nato membership in February, Minister Haavisto says

Representatives of Finland and Sweden held talks with Hungary and Turkey on the sidelines of a Nato foreign ministers' meeting.

Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto (Green) speaking to Yle in Bucharest, Romania. Image: Robert Ghement / EPA

Hungary will ratify Finland's membership in Nato by the beginning of February, according to Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto (Green).

The minister made the comments amid a Nato foreign affairs ministers' meeting in Bucharest, Romania on Wednesday. Finland and Sweden are both awaiting approval of their applications to the defence alliance, and are attending the meeting of foreign ministers as observers for the first time.

Representatives from the Nordic countries held separate, tripartite talks with both Hungary and Turkey on the sidelines of the meeting.

Haavisto said that Hungary does not have preconditions for the two countries' membership ratification.

"Hungary's foreign minister confirmed that was the message Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wanted to be sent to Finnish Parliament," Haavisto explained.

"This is good news,'' he added.

Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, speaks before the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting held at Parliament Palace in Bucharest, Romania, 29 November 2022. Image: Robert Ghement / EPA

To date, 28 of Nato's 30 member states have ratified the applications of Finland and Sweden, with Hungary and Turkey the only countries yet to do so.

Regarding Turkey's current position on the countries' pending Nato memberships, Haavisto said Finland had met all of the commitments that were agreed upon with Turkey.

Turkey is the only Nato member which has pushed back on Finland's and Sweden's applications.

Haavisto noted that Nato member states that had already ratified Finland and Sweden's membership in the alliance appealed to the remaining members to do so.

"That is, they appealed to those who have not ratified it," Haavisto said, referring to Hungary and Turkey.

Also in attendance at the meeting, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg repeated a message about the Nordic countries' pending membership.

"It is time to welcome Finland and Sweden as Nato members," he said on Wednesday.

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