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MILITARY

Swedish support for NATO membership increases: poll

Swedish support for NATO membership has increased, but a majority remain against joining the military alliance, two new polls show.

Swedish support for NATO membership increases: poll

Since 2004 the number of Swedes opposed to joining NATO has declined by nine percent, according to a Sifo poll, published in Svenska Dagbladet on Saturday.

Every other Swede is against joining NATO.

Those in favour of joining has increased from 29 percent in 2004 to 33 percent in the recent poll. 17 percent remain unsure.

Toivo Sjörén thinks that increased support for NATO is due less from a Swedish fear for their security and more due to the “NATO issue” become less controversial.

Sifo interviewed 1,000 people.

A further Som survey, conducted by Gothenburg University and published in Dagens Nyheter, also indicates an increase in support for joining NATO.

According to the poll 24 percent of Swedes now back joining, in comparison to 19 percent in 2007. 41 percent are against joining, a decline from 44 percent in 2007. 35 percent are unsure.

The Som survey also charts Swedish attitudes towards the defence forces.

In 2007 25 percent expressed high confidence in the defence forces, in 2008 this figure had declined to 16 percent.

Those expressing some confidence amounted to 27 percent of those surveyed in 2007, and 38 percent in 2008.

SWEDEN AND TURKEY

Turkey calls for ‘concrete steps’ before backing Sweden Nato bid

Turkey said on Wednesday Sweden's new government was more determined to address Ankara's security concerns in return for Nato membership but called for "concrete steps".

Turkey calls for 'concrete steps' before backing Sweden Nato bid

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts on the sidelines of a NATO gathering in Bucharest on Tuesday.

Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations — especially Stockholm — of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems “terrorists” and held back on ratifying their Nato bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.

“The statements (coming out of Sweden) are good, the determination is good but we need to see concrete steps,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Bucharest. “We told them we haven’t seen concrete steps on these issues”.

The progress included the most vexed issue of extradition of criminals and the freezing of terror assets, Cavusoglu said.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström spoke optimistically about Tuesday’s meeting.

“I have to say that I felt after this meeting that yes, there is progress in line,” he said.”We are moving forward with the implementation of a trilateral memorandum which was signed in Madrid.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also sounded upbeat, saying he was confident that Sweden and Finland would “soon” join Nato.

“Turkey, Sweden and Finland are engaging directly as well as with Nato to make sure that Turkey’s concerns are fully addressed, including concerns about its security,” he said. “That process has been moving, moving forward. And I’m very confident and
again, based on what I’ve heard these last couple of days, that Finland and Sweden will soon be formally new members of the alliance.”

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and scrambled to become Nato members in May, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The decision requires a consensus within the US-led defence alliance, but only Turkey and Hungary are yet to give consent to their membership.

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