Sweden is set to join NATO as the 32nd member following year-long discussions

While the accession of Finland and Sweden received prompt support from the majority of NATO countries, their bids encountered hurdles due to reservations from Hungary and Turkey.

Sweden is set to join NATO as the 32nd member following year-long discussions
Magnus Lejhall/TT News Agency via AP
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Following extensive discussions that spanned over a year, Sweden is poised to become the latest addition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), marking its entry as the 32nd member nation.

This move comes as Sweden departs from a tradition of neutrality that has lasted nearly two centuries in a bid to enhance its security framework, reports the Daily Wire.

The process of joining NATO is intricate, requiring the unanimous approval of all existing member countries. While the accession of Finland and Sweden received prompt support from the majority of NATO countries, their bids encountered hurdles due to reservations from Hungary and Turkey.

Nonetheless, through diplomatic engagement and certain compromises, the alliance managed to address these concerns. Finland's membership was solidified in April 2023, and following Turkey's endorsement of Sweden's bid last month, the Hungarian parliament's recent approval has cleared the path for Sweden's inclusion in NATO.

“The parliaments of all NATO member states have now voted in favor of Swedish accession to NATO.” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said. “Sweden stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security.”

Sweden is anticipated to formally become a member of the organization through a ceremonial event slated for this week, following the completion of all requisite documentation.

Turkey had initially leveled accusations against the Scandinavian countries, alleging leniency towards Kurdish militants who have been embroiled in a longstanding conflict with the Turkish government. In what seems to be a conciliatory move, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has seemingly relented, potentially swayed by the prospect of enhanced military capabilities through increased arms transactions, including the acquisition of American-manufactured F-16 fighter jets.

The reluctance of Hungary to support the NATO bids also stemmed from previous criticisms by Sweden of Viktor Orbán's administration. Interestingly, Hungary's eventual endorsement of Sweden's NATO membership coincided with a significant arms agreement, involving the purchase of four Swedish fighter jets shortly before Hungary gave its nod to Sweden's accession to NATO.

The Daily Wire reports:

The expansion of NATO has been a major point of contention with Russia – one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated reasons for invading Ukraine was to prevent the country from joining the Western military bloc and moving its forces to the Russian border. Finland, which, like Ukraine, was also once part of the Russian Empire, has an 830 mile long land border with Russia, and with the accession of Sweden and Finland the alliance will almost totally encircle the Baltic Sea, where the Russian port of St. Petersburg strategic exclave of Kaliningrad are located.While Russia hasn’t taken direct military action against either nation, relations have cooled considerably between it and the formally neutral nations. Last year the Russian ambassador to Sweden said the country had become a “legitimate target for Russian retaliatory measures” and Finland closed its border with Russia.

“When it comes to Russia, the only thing we can expect is that they will not like that Sweden is becoming a NATO member,” Kristersson said. “What they do in addition to that, we cannot know. We are prepared for all sorts of things.”

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