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Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Senior Turkish officials have met with government delegations from Sweden and Finland as discussions continue following Ankara's threat to veto the NATO membership application of the two Nordic countries. Most NATO countries have warmly welcomed the decision of Sweden and Finland since their membership in NATO will considerably strengthen the northern flank of the alliance, but Turkey accuses both countries of having an ambivalent position on Turkey's struggle with militant Kurdish groups. On Wednesday, Swedish and Finnish government delegations travelled to Ankara to meet with Turkish representatives in an effort to resolve the country’s doubts regarding their accession to NATO. In their first face-to-face meeting since the two Nordic countries applied for membership, Turkish representatives stressed their security concerns, and conditions regarding Sweden’s “cooperation” with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late on Wednesday that positive steps towards the lifting of an arms embargo from Finland and Sweden had been taken. In October of 2019, Sweden and Finland were among some  European states that imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following a military incursion into Syria.

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Task Force Takuba, the EU's mission in the Sahel, is not going according to plan

Task Force Takuba, the EU's mission in the Sahel, is not going according to plan

The foreign ministers of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad failed to agree on the terms for a joint ministerial summit with the European Union and have instead chosen to hold bilateral talks with EU High Representative Josep Borrel. The cancellation followed a series of coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, which has put into question the main European military tool in the Sahel region, the Takuba force. Task Force Takuba was created with much fanfare, and after a lot of French insistence, in March 2020 to help Mali and its neighbours in the West African Sahel fight militants linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, who have taken over large parts of their territory. 
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NATO tells Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

NATO tells Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

NATO has called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova where they are deployed without the consent of these countries. The call came as part of a western response to Russian sabre-rattling and attempts to assert the Kremlin's hegemonic control over its neighbouring countries, and amid fears of an imminent Russian military incursion in Ukraine
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NATO sends additional military forces to Eastern Europe because of Russian threat

NATO sends additional military forces to Eastern Europe because of Russian threat

NATO is sending extra reinforcements to its member states in Eastern European because of Russia's military troop build-up on the border with Ukraine. The deployment includes frigates, fighter jets and troops for "collective defence". The reinforcements will be stationed in the Baltic Sea and Lithuania, among other places. A Russian invasion of Ukraine now appears increasingly likely, and the US and a number of western countries have evacuated non essential staff from their missions in Kyiv.
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Widespread condemnation after government websites in Ukraine are shut down by 'massive' cyber hack

Widespread condemnation after government websites in Ukraine are shut down by 'massive' cyber hack

NATO and the European Union led strong condemnation after Government websites of various Ukrainian ministries were hacked on Thursday evening (13 January). The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported this on Friday. According to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, it is too soon to draw conclusions about who could have been behind the attacks. However it is widely suspected that Russia was behind the attacks.
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NATO-Russia Council meets for a "not an easy discussion"

NATO-Russia Council meets for a "not an easy discussion"

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussles, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the meeting, said: “This was not an easy discussion, but that is exactly why it was so important.” He noted that NATO Allies are ready to meet again with Russia to discuss a number of topics in greater detail and to put concrete proposals on the table. “There are opportunities for constructive engagement which should not be missed, in the interest of security in Europe,” he said.