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Sweden enters NATO after two years of waiting and in the middle of the conflict in Ukraine

Sweden enters NATO after two years of waiting and in the middle of the conflict in Ukraine

Sweden became the 32nd member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization this Thursday (NATO), in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine and ending two centuries of official non-alignment and two years of tortuous diplomacy.

The Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristerssonvisiting Washington, delivered the ratification documents to the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in an official ceremony, after a tough battle to obtain the approval of the other 31 members of the military alliance.

Good things happen to those who wait“, said Blinken by accepting the certificates and describing the Swedish accession as a sign of the “historical debacle” From Russia.

Kristersson described his country’s entry into NATO, formed in the Cold War to confront the then Soviet Union, as “a victory for freedom”.

Sweden launched its application to join the alliance in May 2022, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She did so at the same time as Finland, which was admitted in April 2023.

The accession was welcomed by US President Joe Biden.

When (Russian President Vladimir) Putin launched his brutal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine, he thought it could weaken Europe and divide NATO. With the entry of Sweden today, NATO becomes more united, more dynamic and stronger than ever”he said in a statement.

The Swedish armed forces have 50,000 soldiers, about half of whom are reservists. Kristersson stated in January that his country is willing to provide troops to NATO forces in Latvia.

Russia has promised “countermeasures” for Sweden’s entry into the organization, especially if NATO military personnel and equipment are deployed in that country.

Sweden’s entry means for Moscow that the Baltic Sea is now surrounded by alliance member countries, with some analysts describing it as a “nato lake”.

The Swedish prime minister is scheduled to attend the US president’s annual State of the Union address in the evening, as he battles to convince the rival Republican Party to approve new aid to kyiv.

Sweden will now take its rightful place at the NATO table, with an equal say in shaping policies and decisions.“, the secretary general of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, had said earlier in a statement.

After more than 200 years of non-alignment, Sweden now enjoys the protection granted by Article 5, the maximum guarantee of freedom and security for the allies”he added.

Sweden’s blue and golden yellow flag is expected to be raised on Monday at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Complicated incorporation

Sweden has not participated in a war, including World War II, since the Napoleonic conflicts of the early 19th century.

But together with Finland, it launched a joint candidacy after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, a country that had unsuccessfully tried to join NATO, which considers that an attack on one member is an aggression on the entire bloc.

The Swedish bid had stalled due to strong pressure from Turkey, which demanded that Stockholm, known for its liberal asylum policies, act against Kurdish militants who have campaigned against Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded action after protesters, using Swedish freedom of expression laws, desecrated Islam’s holy book, the Koran.

To soften the situation, the United States offered F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, which in turn has faced US sanctions over a major military purchase from Russia.

Even with Turkey’s blessing, Sweden faced another hurdle, needing approval from one last country: Hungary, whose nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has often mocked Western allies.

The Hungarian Parliament ratified Sweden’s accession on February 26. But in a final setback, Hungary was unable to formally sign the accession document due to the president’s brief, largely ceremonial absence from office following the resignation of an Orban ally in a scandal over pardoning the accomplice of a man convicted of abuse. juvenile.

A recent poll by Swedish broadcaster SR said a majority of Sweden’s citizens believe their country has made too many sacrifices to join NATO, although more than three-quarters expect the alliance will strengthen security.

Source: Gestion

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