Conflicts & War

Sweden signs formal application to join NATO

Copenhagen, May 17 (EFE).- Foreign Minister Ann Linde Tuesday signed Sweden’s formal request for the NATO membership in a move that would end the Nordic country’s more than 200-year-long military non-alignment.

The move came a day after Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson Monday said his government had decided to join NATO, justifying that the measure had become necessary given the deteriorating security situation caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

The decision has the backing of Sweden’s main political parties.

Sweden plans to apply to NATO headquarters in Brussels by Wednesday.

“It is something big, serious like we have achieved what we think the is best for Sweden,” Linde told SVT public TV.

The move follows a similar decision announced over the weekend by neighboring Finland.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin confirmed the government proposal to join the US-led military alliance. But the plan must be approved by the parliament.

The parliament will vote on the formal decision Tuesday.

“A new era opens. A protected Finland is born as part of a stable, strong Nordic region aware of its responsibilities,” Niinisto told reporters in Helsinki on Sunday.

Niinistö is making an official visit to Sweden on Tuesday to meet Prime Minister Andersson.

“The best thing for the security of Sweden and the Swedes is to join NATO and to do so together with Finland,” the Swedish prime minister said.

Andersson’s announcement came after a parliamentary debate in which a clear majority of parties favored joining the military bloc.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the expansion of NATO, including Finland and Sweden, was not a problem for his country.

“As for the expansion of NATO, including through new members of the alliance which are Finland, Sweden — Russia has no problems with these states,” Putin said Monday at a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance composed of several post-Soviet states.

However, Putin warned that the deployment of military infrastructure in the Nordic region might trigger a response from Moscow.

Sweden and Finland received NATO backing at an informal meeting of their foreign ministers in Berlin on Sunday.

However, Turkey has been critical of the two countries joining NATO over their alleged support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group it considers a terrorist organization, and followers of Fethullah Gulen, who

Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

“We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we do not hold positive views,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. “Furthermore, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations.”

“He said Turkey would “not say yes” to those who host terrorists when they want to join NATO.

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