29 June, 07:34 PM

NATO officially invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance

“We reaffirm our commitment to NATO’s Open Door Policy. Today, we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO, and agreed to sign the Accession Protocols,” says the official statement.

The document also states that "In any accession to the alliance, it is of vital importance that the legitimate security concerns of all allies are properly addressed."

“We welcome the conclusion of the trilateral memorandum between Turkey, Finland, and Sweden to that effect. The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure.”

NATO stressed that the security of Finland and Sweden is of direct importance to the alliance, including in the accession process.

Turkey, Finland and Sweden on June 28 signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid. According to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Turkey confirmed that it would support the accession of the two countries to NATO at the summit, and "concrete steps" for their accession would be agreed by the alliance allies over the next two days.

Finland and Sweden on May 18 submitted applications for NATO membership signed by their foreign ministers. Stoltenberg had previously assured that countries would be accepted into NATO "with open arms" after they applied.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously said that his country could not support the plans of Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. He insisted on his country's right to put forward demands for the extradition of representatives of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) from two Scandinavian states, as Ankara considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

Sweden and Finland have stated that they condemn terrorism and are open to dialogue.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has threatened "retaliatory measures" against the placing of NATO military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden.

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