HELSINKI - Officials from Turkey, Finland and Sweden agreed on Friday to keep meeting in the coming months to discuss security concerns that Turkey raised as a precondition for allowing the two Nordic countries to join the NATO military alliance.
Officials from the three countries held their first such meeting on Friday in the southern Finnish city of Vantaa.
Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said the meeting aimed to establish contacts and set goals for cooperation that the countries agreed to by signing a memorandum of understanding at NATO's Madrid summit in June.
"The participants discussed the concrete steps to implement the Trilateral Memorandum and agreed that the mechanism will continue to meet at the expert level during the autumn," the Finnish foreign ministry said in a statement after the meeting.
The two Nordic countries applied for NATO membership in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but were faced with opposition from Turkey which accused them of imposing arms embargoes on Ankara and supporting groups it deems terrorists.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has demanded Sweden and Finland extradite suspects Turkey seeks over terrorism-related charges while the Nordic countries say they had not agreed to specific extraditions.
Finland's foreign ministry had been tight-lipped about Friday's meeting, refusing to give its location or timing, but later said it had taken place in the city of Vantaa near the capital Helsinki.
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, additional reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Toby Chopra and Hugh Lawson)