Allies of NATO sign the accession protocol for Finland and Sweden

London -- Tuesday saw NATO's 30 ambassadors sign accession protocols for Sweden, Finland and the transatlantic military alliance.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
05 July 2022 Tuesday 06:20
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Allies of NATO sign the accession protocol for Finland and Sweden

London -- Tuesday saw NATO's 30 ambassadors sign accession protocols for Sweden, Finland and the transatlantic military alliance. This was the next step in NATO's largest expansion since the mid-90s and was a direct response to Russia's war against Ukraine.

While the protocols must still be ratified in each allied country's legislatures before the Nordic countries can become official members of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the group, called it "truly a historic moment for Finland, Sweden, and NATO."

Stoltenberg stated, "With 32 countries around the table we will be even more powerful."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited NATO's eastward expansion as one of the main factors that led him to order the invasion in February of Ukraine. It will add two additional NATO countries to Russia's borders if Finland and Sweden become full members.

Russia demanded that Ukraine never join NATO before it invaded Ukraine. This was partly due to Moscow's concern about having NATO countries within its borders.

"With Sweden and Finland we don't have problems like we have with Ukraine." Putin stated on Russian state television that they want to join NATO. He added one caveat. "If military infrastructure and contingents are deployed there, then we will have to respond in type and create the same threats from the territories from whom threats towards us are made."

A prospective NATO member must get the blessing of all current members. Turkey initially threatened to block Sweden and Finland's bids to join the alliance unless the Turkish opposition members of the European countries were turned over to Ankara. Turkey reached a deal last week with the Nordic countries, and ended the threat. However, it warned that it could still block their accession if they don't fulfill their end of the bargain.

Stoltenberg stated Tuesday that he expected the ratification process to proceed.

He stated that there were security concerns that had to be addressed and that NATO did the same thing -- it found common ground.

As each country in the alliance has their own legislative processes to follow, it could take Sweden and Finland months to become NATO members. Representatives from both countries are now allowed to attend NATO meetings even though they do not have voting rights. They will also be able to access more intelligence.

They are not covered by the NATO alliance's mutual defence clause. However, this clause states that an attack against one is an attack upon all. That clause - Article 5 of the NATO charter – has been invoked only once so far. It was invoked by the United States when it asked its allies in Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime that allowed al Qaeda to attack the United States on September 11, 2001.

Stoltenberg stated Tuesday that "we will be stronger and our people more secure as we face the largest security crisis in decades."

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