Conflicts & War

Finland to formally apply for Nato membership

Helsinki, May 15 (EFE).- Finland will apply to become a member of Nato, president Sauli Niinisto said Sunday, after the government’s Foreign and Security Committee formally approved the country’s application to join the Western military alliance.

At a press conference with prime minister Sanna Marin, Niinisto said: “A new era has dawned. A protected Finland is being born as part of a stable, strong and responsible Nordic region.

“We gain security and we also share it,” he added.

The decision is expected to be ratified by the country’s parliament next week, prime minister Sanna Marin said.

“In Finland we still have the parliamentary process ahead of us but I trust that the parliament will debate this historic decision with determination and responsibility,” Marin said.

The move, which comes in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, signals a major policy shift by the Nordic country, ending nearly 80 years of military neutrality.

Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto and defense minister Antti Kaikkonen were also due to appear before the press later on Sunday, the Finnish government said on its website.

Russia has warned its neighbor, with which it shares a 1,300 km (810 miles) border, against joining the Western alliance.

On Saturday, president Vladimir Putin spoke to Niinisto over the phone to tell him that becoming a member of Nato would be “a mistake”, while Russia’s foreign ministry said last week that Moscow would be forced to take “military” measures to “counter the threats that have emerged to its national security.”

Neighboring Sweden is also expected to apply to join Nato, with the government due to meet next week. EFE


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