Newshub18 :Finland-Sweden invitation to NATO
Finland and Sweden have received official invitations to join the US-led military alliance NATO. The decision was made at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday. The membership of the two countries in the Nordic region will be finalized once the decision is approved by the parliament comprising NATO member states. Earlier, Turkey withdrew its opposition to the two countries’ alliance. This paved the way for Sweden and Finland to join NATO. News Reuters and Al-Jazeera
A statement from the NATO summit said the 30 member states had decided to invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance. At the same time, member states have agreed to formally consider Russia as the “deadliest and most direct threat” to Allied security. “Today we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” the statement saidEarlier, Turkey withdrew its veto over the two countries joining the alliance.
The annexation of the two countries needs to be approved by the NATO parliament. It can take up to a year to do so. Once approved, Finland and Sweden will come under NATO’s Article 5 collective defense clause. Then the two Nordic countries will come under the integrated nuclear protection of the United States. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “We are confident that we will be able to defend all our allies, including Finland and Sweden.”
The two countries of the Nordic region have been following the policy of non-alignment for so long. The governments of Finland and Sweden were shaken when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Helsinki and Stockholm began pushing to join the NATO alliance. However, NATO member Turkey is excluded. Ankara vetoed the two countries’ membership in May.
The inclusion of members in the NATO alliance requires a unanimous decision. Turkey’s opposition puts Finland and Sweden in a precarious position to join NATO. Ankara has demanded that it cut ties with the Kurdish rebel group PKK and lift its arms embargo. Meetings were held between the three countries at various levels with the mediation of the NATO Secretary General.
After four hours of talks in Madrid on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed with the presidents of Finland and Sweden to offer them membership. A tripartite joint memorandum was signed. Ankara withdrew its veto after promising to take several steps on Turkey’s security.
According to the Turkish Communications Department, the two Nordic countries have agreed to take firm steps to extradite the fugitives. He also promised to stop “terrorist propaganda” against Turkey. Helsinki and Stockholm also agreed not to impose sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry and to increase co-operation.
The move to make Finland and Sweden members of NATO is seen as one of the biggest changes in Europe’s security sector in decades. Meanwhile, the Allies have also decided to increase their military presence in the Nordic region. Military exercises will be organized to reassure the two countries. There will also be naval patrols in the Baltic Sea.
US President Joe Biden has praised the unity of the member states in making the two countries members of NATO. He says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy of invading Ukraine has backfired. “This is exactly what Putin did not want,” Biden said. But the move was needed to ensure Europe’s security.
The NATO summit is being held in a situation that has completely changed with the Russian attack on Ukraine. The three-day conference begins on Tuesday in Madrid, Spain. In addition to the war in Ukraine, the issue of increasing the military spending of the member countries is getting priority. NATO was established in 1949 under the leadership of the United States to prevent the Soviet Union. If Finland and Sweden are members, the number of countries in this alliance will be 32