NATO chief hails ‘historic moment’ as Finland and Sweden apply – The Denver Post

BRUSSELS – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday the military alliance was ready to seize a historic moment and act quickly to allow Finland and Sweden to join its ranks, after the two countries have submitted their membership applications.

The official candidacies, handed over by the ambassadors of Finland and Sweden to NATO, put a security tick-tock. Russia, whose war with Ukraine prompted him to join the military organization, has warned that it would not welcome such a move and may react.

“I warmly welcome Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership. You are our closest partners,” Stoltenberg said. “All allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement. We all agree that we must stand together, and we all agree that this is a historic moment that we must seize.

“It’s a good day at a critical time for our security,” Stoltenberg said, beaming, as he stood alongside the two envoys, with the flags of NATO, Finland and Sweden in the back.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that the alliance stop expanding towards Russia’s borders, and several NATO allies, led by the United States and Britain, have signaled they are ready. to provide security support to Finland and Sweden if he tried to provoke or destabilize them. the time it takes to become a full member.

Countries will only benefit from NATO’s Article 5 security guarantee – the part of the alliance’s founding treaty which promises that any attack on one member would be considered an attack on all – once the ratification process of accession concluded, probably within a few months.

This decision is one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of the war and will rewrite the security map of Europe. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed it in a tweet and said “Putin’s appalling ambitions have transformed the geopolitical contours of our continent”.

For now, however, the bid has to be weighed by the 30 member countries. This process is expected to take around two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

If his objections are overcome and membership talks go as planned, the two could soon become members. The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to act quickly given the Russian threat hanging over the Nordic countries.

Canada, for example, says it expects to ratify its accession protocol in just days – while in the Baltic region, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted: “I encourage a process of rapid adhesion. In Estonia, we will do our part quickly.

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