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Time to Finalize Sweden's Accession to NATO

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson

Finland formally joined NATO in April, but Türkiye and Hungary have yet to give their approval to Sweden.

Time to Finalize Sweden's Accession to NATO
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The United States is urging Türkiye to quickly ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO. Sweden, along with its neighbor Finland, abandoned a long-held policy of military neutrality and began to seek NATO membership last year, following Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Finland formally joined NATO in April, but Türkiye and Hungary have yet to give their approval to Sweden. Because of NATO’s policy, articulated in Article 5, that an attack on one member of the Alliance means an attack on all, every member must approve the expansion of our Alliance to new members.

At a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States wants to have Sweden’s accession complete by the time NATO leaders meet for a summit in July in Vilnius.

“We know the Alliance will be stronger and we will be better off when that process is finalized,” he said. “And so, we urge both Türkiye and Hungary, which has also not yet ratified, to ratify the accession as quickly as possible. There is no reason for any further time; Sweden is ready now. That decision should move forward now.”

Secretary Blinken said that Sweden, like Finland, to its credit has “taken very significant steps” to address the legitimate security concerns raised by Türkiye:

“So we look forward to this process being completed in the weeks ahead. We have no doubt that it can be, and it should be, and we expect it to be.”

Secretary Blinken pointed out that Sweden has been a partner to NATO for a long time and “has proven its commitment to NATO, to its mission, to its members:”

“A strong vibrant democracy with highly capable forces that have been working shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO members for years, for decades, it is fully dedicated to upholding the commitments that underpin our Alliance, including Article 5.”

He also noted how swiftly Sweden moved to provide $2 billion in military, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine after Russia began its brutal full-scale invasion.

“In challenging times, the most important thing is to have close allies, close partners, close friends,” declared Secretary Blinken. “The United States could not ask for a closer partner and friend - and soon Ally - than Sweden.”