Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the close partnership of Finland and Sweden with NATO on Monday (24 January 2022). He met with Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto of Finland and Foreign Minister Ann Linde of Sweden at NATO Headquarters to discuss the current security situation, including Russia’s continued military build-up in and around Ukraine.
“The worsening security situation in Europe makes NATO’s cooperation and dialogue with Finland and Sweden even more important,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
The Secretary General noted that Finland and Sweden are NATO’s closest partners, saying: “we share the same values and we face the same challenges, in the Baltic Sea region and beyond.” NATO forces train, exercise, and operate alongside Finland and Sweden, and Allies continue to exchange information and situational awareness with both countries.
On Ukraine, the Secretary General said: “the risk of conflict remains real and we continue to call on Russia to de-escalate and choose the path of diplomacy. NATO is a defensive Alliance, which does not threaten Russia or any other country, but we will always do what is necessary to protect and defend all our Allies, and I welcome that Allies are stepping up.”
Mr Stoltenberg stressed that NATO remains ready to continue dialogue with Russia, but that the Alliance will not compromise on core principles, such as the right of each nation to choose its own alliances. He said: “NATO’s door remains open. While NATO cooperates closely with Finland and Sweden, we fully respect your strong and independent security policies. It is for Finland and Sweden alone to decide on your path. Not Russia. Not anyone else. Sovereign nations have the right to self-determination.”