NATO Nations Sign Accession Protocols for Sweden, Finland
TThe accession protocol for Sweden and Finland was signed by the NATO Allies on Tuesday. They then sent the member bids to the Alliance Capitals for legislative approvals.
The move further increases Russia’s strategic isolation in the wake of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February and military struggles there since.
“This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO,” said alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
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.
Continue reading: The Rise of a More Powerful NATO This might not be a good thing.
Even though the Alliance has reached an agreement, the final membership could be delayed if Turkey’s parliamentary approval is not obtained.
Last week, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara could still block the process if the two countries fail to fully meet Turkey’s demand to extradite terror suspects with links to outlawed Kurdish groups or the network of an exiled cleric accused of a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.
He said Turkey’s Parliament could refuse to ratify the deal. The threat is serious because NATO accession requires that all member states have formally approved it. This gives each state a blocking power.
Stoltenberg indicated that he would not change his mind. “There were security concerns that needed to be addressed. We did the same thing at NATO as always. We found common ground.”
There are many legislative hurdles and procedures that each alliance nation must deal with. It could take several months to make the countries official.
“I look forward to a swift ratification process,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. This process has been made more urgent by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It will ensconce the two nations in the Western military alliance and give NATO more clout, especially in the face of Moscow’s military threat.
“We will be even stronger and our people will be even safer as we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” said Stoltenberg.
Tuesday’s signing-off does bring both nations deeper into NATO’s fold already. Both countries are close partners and they have been to meetings that dealt with issues directly affecting them. Even though they are not eligible to vote, as official invitees they may attend any meeting of ambassadors.
Continue reading: Putin’s latest example of miscalculating the Ukraine War: Finland and Sweden join NATO
Here are more must-read stories from TIME