Sweden has officially applied for NATO membership, and Finland is due to follow shortly. Now the prospects for their membership are to be discussed by the countries of the alliance, Turkey opposes it alt=”Swedish Foreign Minister signs NATO membership application” />
Anna Linde signs NATO membership application
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has signed an application for NATO membership, Aftonbladet reports.
According to Linde, Sweden's application to join NATO will be submitted together with Finland's application. The process of joining the alliance should take about a year.
“This is a big, serious step. We have decided on what we think is best for Sweden,— she commented on signing the document.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is now in Sweden on a state visit. The Parliament of Finland will vote on the issue of applying to join the alliance today.
Sweden has maintained international neutrality since the 19th century. Finland has been a neutral country for almost 80 years since the end of World War II.
For Finland and Sweden to join NATO, consideration of applications by the North Atlantic Council is required— NATO's main political governing body. After that, the agreement on the membership of countries in the alliance must be ratified at the national level in all 30 countries that are part of the military-political bloc.
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Turkey has already spoken out against the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO. The authorities of this country accuse Stockholm and Helsinki of supporting terrorists because they provide asylum to members of the Kurdish radical group PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), which is considered terrorist in Turkey. “Now we are following the developments in relation to Sweden and Finland, but we do not see [in this] positive,” — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 13. At the same time, on May 14, the official representative of the Turkish leader, Ibrahim Kalin, stressed that Ankara “does not close the door” in NATO for Finland and Sweden, although he raises this issue as a problem for national security.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a telephone conversation with Niinistö, called Finland's refusal from the traditional policy of neutrality and the country's entry into NATO a mistake, since there are no there are no security threats to Helsinki. He warned that this move could have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that Moscow would take appropriate steps to ensure its security in the context of the two countries' accession to the North Atlantic Alliance.
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