NATO launches ratification process for Sweden, Finland members
NATO formally launched the ratification process for Sweden and Finland to become members of the alliance today.
The process to ratify Sweden and Finland as NATO's newest members was formally launched on Tuesday, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
"This is a good day for Finland and Sweden and a good day for NATO," Stoltenberg told reporters in a joint press statement with the Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers.
"With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger and our people will be even safer as we face the biggest security crisis in decades," he added.
The NATO secretary-general was speaking ahead of a meeting at which NATO's 30 member states' ambassadors were expected to sign the accession protocols for the two Nordic countries, kicking off a months-long period for alliance countries to ratify their membership.
"We are tremendously grateful for all the strong support that our accession has received from the allies," said Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde.
"We are convinced that our membership would strengthen NATO and add to the stability in the Euro Atlantic area," she added.
Following the Russian military operation in Ukraine in February, Sweden and Finland announced their intention to abandon their military non-alignment status and join NATO.
NATO summit in Madrid
Last week's NATO summit in Madrid endorsed that move by inviting the two after Turkey won concessions on concerns it had raised and a US promise that it would receive new warplanes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Sweden and Finland of harboring Kurdish militants he has sought to persecute and of encouraging "terrorism." He also demanded that they lift arms embargoes imposed in preparation for Turkey's military incursion into Syria in 2019.
However, Erdogan has kept the rest of NATO on edge by threatening to block Sweden and Finland's bids if they do not follow through on their promises, some of which were kept secret, such as possible extradition agreements.
NATO to sign protocol accepting Finland, Sweden accession
On Monday, the formal procedure to join the Western military alliance was discussed by Sweden and Finland with NATO authorities in Brussels. This indicated a significant change from the Nordic nations' long-standing military nonalignment policies.
The July 4 negotiations, which come after an accord with NATO member Turkey last week that saw Ankara give up its opposition to their membership, are being led by Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and her Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto.
One request vs. a long list of conditions— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 28, 2022
While #Turkey had a long list of conditions from #Finland and #Sweden, all the two Nordic states wanted was to join #NATO.
Here's your guide to understanding on what basis the agreement was made. pic.twitter.com/Aw7Jtu7frp