Sweden and Finland move closer to joining NATO as member countries sign accession protocols

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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.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front row left) pose with other leaders for a group photo during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, June 29 .  , 2022.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front row left) pose with other leaders for a group photo during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, June 29 . , 2022.
(AP Photo/Bernat Armange)

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.

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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.

Officials from Turkey, Sweden and Finland meet during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 28, 2022.

Officials from Turkey, Sweden and Finland meet during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 28, 2022.
(REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura/File photo)

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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.