NATO chiefs welcome “historical moments” as Finland and Sweden apply

Brussels (AP)

NATO Secretary-General Jason Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that the military alliance has seized a historic moment and is ready to allow Finland and Sweden to join after filing a request for accession.

The official application handed over to NATO by the Finnish and Swedish ambassadors will mark the security clock. Russia, which has spurred the war with Ukraine to join them in military organizations, did not welcome such a move and warned that it could respond.

“We sincerely welcome requests from Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partner,” said Stoltemberg. “All allies agree on the importance of NATO expansion. We all agree that we must confront together and that this is a historic moment we must seize. To do.”

“Today is a good day for our safety,” said the radiant Stoltemberg, who stood side by side with the two envoys carrying the flags of NATO, Finland and Sweden.

Russian President Vladimir Putin demands that the alliance stop expanding towards the Russian border, and some US and British-led NATO allies will provoke or destabilize Finland and Sweden. If so, it showed that it was ready to provide security assistance to Finland and Sweden. The time it takes to become a regular member.

Member States will probably benefit from NATO’s Article 5 security, part of the Alliance’s Creation Treaty, which promises that an attack on one Member State will be considered an attack on all countries. Only after the ratification process of the member states is completed within a few months.

This move is one of the greatest geopolitical consequences of the war and will rewrite Europe’s security map. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed it in a tweet, stating that “Putin’s terrifying ambitions have changed the geopolitical contours of our continent.”

However, at this time, 30 member countries need to consider the application. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced reservations for Finland and Sweden’s participation, but the process is expected to take about two weeks.

If his dissenting opinions are overcome and the accession negotiations proceed as expected, the two could soon become members. This process usually takes 8-12 months, but NATO wants to act swiftly given the threat from Russia hanging above the Nordic countries.

Canada, for example, states that it will ratify the accession protocol in just a few days. In the Baltic region, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted. We in Estonia play our role quickly. “

Stortemberg said NATO’s allies are “determined to solve all problems and reach swift conclusions.”

The fact that Scandinavian partners applied together means that you will not lose time by having to approve each other’s membership applications.

“The strength of Sweden and Finland working hand in hand is that the process of participating in the negotiations is ongoing,” Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde told Swedish news agency TT.

It shouldn’t take long to get approval in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Their Prime Minister issued a joint statement on Wednesday, stating that they “fully support and warmly welcome the historic decisions” made in Helsinki and Stockholm.

Public opinion in Finland and Sweden has changed significantly in favor of accession since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th.

Finland and Sweden are working closely with NATO. They have a functioning democracy and a well-funded army, contributing to the alliance’s military operations and aviation police. The obstacles they face are simply of a technical or perhaps political nature.

The NATO membership process is not formal and the steps may vary. But first, their request for participation will probably be considered at the embassy level in the seats of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) of 30 member states.

NAC decides whether to move to membership and what steps need to be taken to achieve it. This mainly depends on how well the candidate countries are in line with NATO’s political, military and legal standards, and whether they contribute to the security of the North Atlantic region. This should not be a real problem for Finland and Sweden.

From now on, in the accession negotiations that can be concluded in one day once the negotiation conditions are decided, it will be required to observe Article 5 and fulfill the expenditure obligation regarding NATO’s internal budget. It will be split in proportion to 32 member countries for about $ 2.5 billion.

Finland and Sweden are also aware of their role in NATO’s defense program and other legal or security obligations they may have, such as personnel review and handling of sensitive information.


Jari Tanner of Helsinki and Jan M. Olsen of Copenhagen contributed to this report.

NATO chiefs welcome “historical moments” as Finland and Sweden apply

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