Finnish President Sauli Niinistö reiterated on Wednesday that Finland and Sweden are on their way towards Nato membership together.
He made the comments at a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon, alongside Swedish and Norwegian prime ministers, after their meeting at Harpsund, the Swedish PM's country retreat in Södermanland County.
Standing alongside Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Störe, Niinistö said that Sweden and Finland both want to become members as soon as possible.
"And I'm still optimistic that we both will be [by this summer's Nato meeting] in Vilnius. But the ratification is not in our hands," he said, referring to Turkey's hesitance in ratifying Sweden's application in particular.
"I don't know what Turkey is thinking right now," Niinistö said.
Without specifically naming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Finnish president said that there may be only one man in the world who knows what Turkey's plans are in the matter.
First time in 500 years
In recent weeks, there has been new speculation about the timetable for Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to Nato, and the possibility that Finland might join the alliance before its Nordic neighbour. This could happen if Turkey ratifies Finland's membership first, as officials have suggested.
Turkey and Hungary are the only Nato members yet to rubberstamp the two countries’ membership bids. Norway and the other Nordic states became charter members of Nato in 1949.
Swedish PM Kristersson said the trio discussed four themes, with the first being the overall security situation "in our part of the world," with focus on Russia's attack on Ukraine.
"The second was our countries' support for Ukraine," he said.
The third theme was joint work between the three Nordic nations in the Cap of the North, a region the three countries share north of the Arctic Circle.
"The fourth, but not the least, topic we discussed was how that cooperation will be changed by the fact that Sweden and Finland will become Nato members and thus make all of this a joint military matter," Kristersson said, gesturing to a map of the Northern Hemisphere.
"When both Sweden and Finland become Nato members, it will be the first time in 500 years that our three countries have a fully shared defence," he said, referring to the Kalmar Union, which lasted from the year 1397 to 1523.
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