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Sweden and Finland moved closer to joining NATO on Tuesday as the ambassadors of all 30 member countries signed protocols for the two Scandinavian states to join the alliance.
“This is truly a historic moment. For Finland, for Sweden, for NATO and for our common security,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said of the most significant expansion of the alliance in decades.
The legislatures of each individual country must now I approve of Sweden and Finland’s applications, a process that can take months.
Canada was the first country outside the gates to ratify the accession protocols, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged allies to “quickly complete their ratification processes to limit opportunities for interference by adversaries”.
Sweden and Finland applied for membership in May, but their entry appeared to run into trouble when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the countries extradite members of a Kurdish rebel group that Turkey considers terrorists.
three countries came to a joint agreement last week, which Sweden and Finland pledged to abide by on Tuesday.
“We will fully comply with the memorandum. Of course, there are no lists or anything like that in the memorandum, but we will cooperate better when it comes to terrorists,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said at a press conference. conference.
Erdogan warned after an agreement was signed that the Turkish parliament would not approve the accession protocols unless the Nordic countries “fulfilled their responsibilities”.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February prompted historically neutral Sweden and Finland to apply for NATO membership. If approved, Russia’s border with NATO countries will more than double.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.