NATO countries take the next step, signing accession protocols for Sweden and Finland – NBC Connecticut
The 30 NATO allies signed the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, sending the two nations’ offers of membership to the alliance’s capitals for approval of the legislation – and any political problems in Turkey.
The move further increases Russia’s strategic isolation in the wake of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February and military fighting there since.
– This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO, says the Alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The 30 ambassadors and permanent representatives formally approved the decisions from 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.
Parliamentary approval in the Member State Turkey may still pose problems for their final inclusion as members, despite a memorandum of understanding between the three.
Last week, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara could still block the process if the two countries do not fully meet Turkey’s demands to extradite terror suspects with links to banned Kurdish groups or the network of an exile priest accused of a failed 2016 coup in Turkey. .
He said the Turkish parliament could refuse to ratify the agreement. This is a potent threat because accession to NATO must be formally approved by all 30 member states, giving everyone a blocking right.
Stoltenberg said he did not expect any change. “There were security issues that needed to be addressed. And we did what we always do in NATO. We found a common ground.”
At a press conference, the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland were asked questions about whether a specific list of people would need to be extradited to Turkey, but both said that such a list was not part of the memorandum with Ankara.
“We will honor that memorandum and follow it up,” said Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, adding that her government’s actions would always “comply with Swedish law. We will comply with international law.”
However, she added that “we will ensure that we have a mechanism to combat terrorism in all its forms.”
Each alliance nation has different legislative challenges and procedures to deal with, and it can take several months for the two to become official members.
For several years, Ukraine has expressed a serious interest in joining the alliance of mostly European countries, while Russia has made explicit demands that Ukraine never do so. This is why Ukraine would have such a tough road to becoming the next member of NATO.
Germany’s parliament will ratify the membership bids on Friday, according to the coalition party Free Democrats. Other parliaments can only come to the approval process after the long summer break.
“I look forward to a speedy ratification process,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made the process extra urgent. It will anchor the two nations in the Western military alliance and give NATO more influence, especially in the face of Moscow’s military threats.
“We will be even stronger and our people will be even more secure as we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” Stoltenberg said.
Tuesday’s signing for both nations is already deeper into NATO’s trap. As close partners, they have already participated in some meetings that dealt with issues that directly affected them. As invited guests, they can attend all meetings of the ambassadors, even if they do not yet have the right to vote.
Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin