The 30 NATO allies on Tuesday signed the accession protocols of Sweden and Finland, and sent the membership offers of the two nations to the alliance capitals for legislative approval.
The move further increases Russia’s strategic isolation following its invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February and military fighting there since.
“This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO,” said alliance secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.
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The 30 ambassadors and permanent representatives formally approved the decisions of last week’s NATO summit when the alliance made the historic decision to invite Russia’s neighbor Finland and Scandinavian partner Sweden to join the military club.
Despite the deal in the alliance, parliamentary approval in member state Turkey could still pose problems for their eventual inclusion as members.
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Last week, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara could still block the process if the two countries do not fully comply with Turkey’s demand to extradite terror suspects with links to illegal Kurdish groups or an exiled cleric’s network. accused of a failed coup in 2016. Pavo.
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He said Turkey’s parliament could refuse to ratify the deal. It is a potent threat as NATO membership must be formally approved by all 30 member states, giving each a right to block.
Stoltenberg said he did not expect any change of heart. “There were security issues that needed to be addressed. And we did what we always do in NATO. We found common ground.”
Each nation in the alliance has different challenges and legislative procedures to deal with, and it could take several more months for the two to become official members.
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“I expect a quick ratification process,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has added urgency to the process. It will strengthen the two nations in the Western military alliance and give NATO more influence, especially in the face of the military threat from Moscow.
“We will be even stronger and our people will be even safer when we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” Stoltenberg said.
Tuesday’s signing already brings both nations further into the NATO fold. As close associates, they have already attended some meetings that involved topics that affected them immediately. As official guests, they can attend all meetings of the ambassadors even if they do not yet have the right to vote.
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