Finland, Sweden sign protocols for NATO entry but still need ratification

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The 30 NATO countries have signed the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland, which will send the membership bids for parliamentary approval in member states.

Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto signed their countries' accession protocols at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto signed their countries’ accession protocols at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

The 30 NATO allies have signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland, sending the membership bids of the two nations to the alliance capitals for legislative approvals.

“This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO,” said alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday.

“We will be even stronger and our people will be even safer as we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” he said.

Every alliance nation has different legislative challenges and procedures to deal with, and it could take several more months for the two to become official members.

“I look forward to a swift ratification process,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

The 30 ambassadors and permanent representatives formally approved the decisions of last week’s NATO summit when the alliance made the historic decision to invite Russia’s neighbour Finland and Scandinavian partner Sweden to join the military alliance.

READ MORE: Explained: Finland, Sweden commitments to Türkiye’s security concerns

‘Security concerns’

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May, a decision spurred by Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, voiced objections to the membership bids, criticising the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

Türkiye, Sweden and Finland signed an agreement after trilateral talks that took place ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid last week. The agreement allows the two Nordic countries to become NATO members, but conditions them to take steps on Türkiye’s terrorism concerns and lift an arms embargo on Ankara.

“There were security concerns that needed to be addressed. And we did what we always do at NATO. We found common ground”, Stoltenberg said.

Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that Sweden and Finland have to comply with a recent memorandum signed with Türkiye to be part of NATO. Otherwise, Ankara “would not accept them into NATO”, he said.

The protocol means Helsinki and Stockholm can participate in NATO meetings and have greater access to intelligence but will not be protected by the NATO defence clause that an attack on one ally is an attack against all until ratification.

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Source: AP

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