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NATO warms to membership applications of 'closest partners' Finland and Sweden

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euronews.com

NATO members' foreign ministers meet on Sunday in Berlin to discuss providing further support to Ukraine and moves by Finland, Sweden and others to join the western alliance in the face of threats from Russia.Finland and Sweden have already taken steps toward joining the alliance, while Georgia's bid is again being discussed despite dire warnings from Moscow about the consequences if the former Soviet state joins.“Finland and Sweden are already the closest partners of NATO," NATO Deputy-Secretary General Mircea Geoana said, adding that he expected allies to view their applications positively.Geoana chaired the meeting as Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is recovering from a COVID-19 infection.German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said her country and others made clear during a dinner late on Saturday that they would be willing to fast-track the national ratification process for Finland and Sweden.“If these two countries are deciding to join, they can join very quickly,” she said.Denmark's foreign minister dismissed suggestions that objections from Russian President Vladimir Putin could hinder the alliance from letting in new members.“Each and every European country has a fundamental right to choose their own security arrangement," Jeppe Kofod told reporters.“We see now a world where the enemy of democracy number one is Putin and the thinking that he represents,” he said, adding that NATO would also stand with other countries, such as Georgia, which he said were being “instrumentalised” by Russia.But Turkey has warned that it could veto the applications, because it says Finland and Sweden both support Kurdish groups which it considers "terrorist" organisations."A big majority of the Turkish people are against the

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