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Sweden Signs Military Deal with US as NATO Bid Awaits Approval

Sweden, a nation poised to become a member of NATO, has entered into a defense cooperation pact with the United States that will allow them access to all military installations across the country.

This deal will be in effect both before and after Stockholm's entry to NATO is finalized.

Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson said the deal, which was signed in Washington on Tuesday, "will create better conditions for Sweden to be able to receive support from the United States in the event of a war or crisis."

According to the Pentagon, the agreement will enable "the presence of US military in Sweden, covering matters such as the legal position of US military personnel, entry to locations for deployment, and positioning of military equipment."

AntiWar reports: The deal comes as Sweden is still waiting for Turkey and Hungary to approve its NATO bid. The US State Department said the DCA with Sweden will "apply seamlessly before and after Sweden's accession to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)."

Last year, Sweden and Finland submitted there applications to join NATO simultaneously, but Turkey's approval was delayed due to claims that the Nordic countries were supporting the PKK, a Kurdish militant group viewed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU, and the US. Turkey had issues mainly with Sweden, and while Finland's bid was approved earlier this year, Sweden's membership remains pending.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he expects the US to move forward on a major F-16 sale before his parliament ratifies Sweden's membership. The deal has support from the Biden administration, but there's been some opposition in Congress.

"As the president, I've done my part, but I have an expectation as well. The US should pass this [F-16 sales to Turkey] from its Congress, so that we can take these steps simultaneously," Erdogan said.

Hungary has cited Swedish criticism of the Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban for its delay in approving Stockholm's NATO bid but is expected to ratify it once Turkey does.

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