Brussels, May 18 (EFE).- The Swedish and Finnish ambassadors to NATO delivered Wednesday their applications to join the Alliance at the headquarters of the transatlantic organization in Brussels, where they met with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who called it “a historic step.”
The act, broadcast live on the NATO website, took place early Wednedsay after the Finnish Parliament approved joining the Alliance and the Swedish Government communicated its decision to request entry into that organization.
Finnish diplomat Klaus Korhonen and Sweden’s Axel Wernhoff hand-delivered to Stoltenberg their countries’ applications to join NATO, and then the Allied Secretary General described the decision made Wednesday by the Allied General as a “historic step” for Stockholm and Helsinki.
Stoltenberg said it is “a good day at a critical moment for our security” and thanked both countries for submitting their applications for entry.
“Every nation has the right to choose its own path. Both of you have made a choice after rigorous democratic processes and I warmly welcome the applications of Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” he said in a short and simple act.
He said Helsinki and Stockholm are “the closest partners” in the Alliance, adding that their entry into the transatlantic organization “will increase our shared security.”
“The allies will now consider the next steps on your way to NATO. The security interests of all allies have to be taken into account and we are determined to solve all problems and reach quick conclusions,” he said.
Turkey, a NATO member, has opposed Sweden and Finland’s entry into the Alliance because it considers that both countries maintain a policy of welcoming Kurdish militants.
The entry of new members into the Alliance is a decision made unanimously by the countries of the transatlantic organization, so Ankara’s approval is required.
Stoltenberg said that in recent days there have been announcements from NATO members that they have pledged to protect the security of Finland and Sweden.
“NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region and NATO and allied forces will continue to adapt as needed. All allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement. We all agree that we must stick together,” Stoltenberg said.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership, despite their tradition as neutral countries. EFE