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Finland and Sweden Say They Will Apply to Be part of NATO

Leaders of Finland and Sweden confirmed on Tuesday that the Nordic nations would collectively submit their functions for NATO membership this week, and would journey to Washington to fulfill with President Biden.

“Sweden has remained our most necessary companion,” President Sauli Niinisto of Finland mentioned in an look with King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on the royal palace in Stockholm. “Our safety insurance policies have lengthy been comparable, and we now take our steps collectively.”

Mr. Niinisto arrived in Sweden on a long-planned state go to that has acquired main symbolic significance for the reason that two nations determined in latest days to forged apart a long time of strategic neutrality and search NATO membership within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a speech to Sweden’s Parliament, Mr. Niinisto mentioned that Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership would bolster the Nordic nations, which already “type a powerful northern quintet.”

“We’re including safety to a really profitable model,” Mr. Niinisto mentioned.

Later, at a joint information convention, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden mentioned: “Finland and Sweden have an extended joint historical past. We now even have a shared future.”

Mr. Niinisto and Ms. Andersson will meet collectively on Thursday with Mr. Biden in Washington, the place they are going to focus on their bids for NATO membership, Russia’s battle in Ukraine and “the connection of Europe and america within the modified safety scenario,” based on a press release from the Finnish presidency.

Sweden’s overseas minister, Ann Linde, signed her nation’s software to hitch NATO on Tuesday morning, telling reporters, “It feels momentous, and it looks like we now have reached what we expect is greatest for Sweden.”

After Finland’s Parliament voted 188 to eight on Tuesday in favor of the nation’s software to hitch the alliance, Overseas Minister Pekka Haavisto signed the applying. The vote was largely seen as a formality, however the Finnish president and authorities have pressured the significance of a full democratic course of, given the significance of the choice.

Sweden and Finland, which already work intently with NATO, are anticipated to submit their functions to the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday on the identical time. Becoming a member of NATO, a course of that the alliance has pledged to fast-track, would grant the international locations safety underneath its mutual protection settlement, however the transfer may be thought of as a risk by Russia, with which Finland shares a greater than 800-mile-long border.

All 30 current NATO members must comply with admit them, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has signaled reluctance to permit their accession, voicing harsh criticism of Sweden as a haven for Kurdish separatists whom he regards as terrorists.

Mr. Niinisto mentioned he was stunned by Mr. Erdogan’s feedback, as a result of when the 2 leaders spoke a number of weeks in the past, the Turkish chief didn’t specific opposition to Finland becoming a member of NATO.

“Turkey’s statements shortly modified and hardened in latest days,” he mentioned. “However I’m certain that we will, with the assistance of constructive conversations, resolve the scenario.”

Christina Anderson contributed reporting from Bastad, Sweden.

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