Stoltenberg answered journalists’ questions ahead of the NATO Defense Ministers Meeting held at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Asked about the possibility of Sweden’s NATO membership to catch up with the Vilnius Summit, Stoltenberg said that the Permanent Joint Mechanism meeting between Turkey, Sweden and Finland was held in Ankara yesterday, and that it took place in a constructive environment.
Stoltenberg stated that Sweden fulfilled its commitments within the scope of the Tripartite Memorandum agreed at last year’s Madrid Summit.
“Turkey has legitimate security concerns. No ally has been more harmed by terrorism than Turkey.” Stoltenberg said about Sweden’s membership:
“Sweden’s membership is possible until the Vilnius Summit, but I cannot guarantee it. We are working to ensure that Sweden’s participation is possible as soon as possible. On this occasion, I am pleased with the meetings I had with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the meeting of the permanent mechanism this week.”
Asked about last week’s visit to the United States and whether his mandate will be extended, Stoltenberg said that during his meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, they discussed the NATO Summit to be held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, on July 11-12, and the issues on the agenda.
Stoltenberg said, “31 NATO allies decide who will replace me. I am responsible for all but one of NATO’s decisions. That is what my future will be. 31 allies decide that.” said.
On the question of whether he wanted an extension of his mandate, Stoltenberg said, “I have no intention of requesting an extension of my mandate.” he said.
There has been long talk about who will replace Stoltenberg, whose term will expire in October 2023. Although many names have passed for this task, it is stated that the name of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has come to the fore, and the possibility of extending Stoltenberg’s term again increases.
Former Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg was appointed NATO Secretary General in 2014, and his mandate was extended three times.