NATO includes Sweden and Finland in its line of defense against Russia

NATO includes Sweden and Finland in its line of defense against Russia

NATO launched on Tuesday the process of integration of Sweden and Finland, which will allow the Alliance to organize a united line of defense from the Arctic to the Mediterranean against the intrigues of Russia but will depend on the good want from Ankara.

The signing of the accession protocols by the ambassadors of the thirty member countries opened the ratification process at NATO headquarters on Tuesday. “I am counting on the allies for rapid ratification,” launched Jans Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the Alliance, opting nevertheless for caution.

“Ratification as soon as possible”

“The last time (for North Macedonia) it took twelve months,” he recalled during a press conference with the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland, Ann Linde and Pekka Haavisto .

“Many allies have prepared for the fastest possible ratification, but it will take several months,” he warned. Estonia will begin ratification on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas announced.

Everything will depend on Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to the launch of the procedure at the Madrid summit but reminded the two candidates of the commitments made.

“If they fulfill their duty, we will submit (the accession protocol) to the” Turkish Parliament for adoption, but “if they do not, it is out of the question for us to send it to Parliament …”, he warned.

Promise between Turkey and Sweden

Mr. Erdogan referred to a “promise made by Sweden” concerning the extradition of “73 terrorists”. Ankara has been calling for several years in Stockholm for the extradition of Kurdish activists and people close to the movement founded by the preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused by the Turkish authorities of having fomented the coup attempt of July 2016.

Swedish Minister Ann Linde on Tuesday denied any promises made to Turkey. “In Madrid we didn’t talk about figures or a list of extradition requests and we didn’t receive a list from Turkey,” she said.

Ms. Linde and her Finnish counterpart also insisted on the willingness of their governments to comply with the judicial procedures of their countries for the processing of extradition requests.

Jens Stoltenberg sought to calm the game in the face of increasingly pressing questions about the commitments made in Madrid.

“From the Arctic to the South”

“The signing of the accession protocols is a historic day for Euro-Atlantic security, as Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has called into question peace in Europe,” he insisted. “It is important that we stand together in these dangerous times.”

The two Nordic countries have confirmed that they have given up their neutrality and decided to join NATO because of the deterioration of the security situation in Europe caused by Russia.

“Our collective security requires a 360 degree approach, from the Arctic to the South”, pleaded the Finn Pekka Haavisto.

In Madrid, NATO has strengthened its defense lines on its eastern flank, from Baltic countries to Bulgaria, as well as its naval and air presence in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Strengthening NATO in the Baltic Sea

The accessions of Sweden and Finland will bring “considerable forces” to strengthen this device in the Baltic.

Russian President “Vladimir Putin tried to close the NATO door. We show him that it remains open with the memberships of Sweden and Finland,” said Jens Stoltenberg.

Three other partner countries have expressed interest in joining the Alliance in recent years: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine. In March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared himself ready to give up this candidacy.

The signing of the accession protocols grants the status of guest country to the two Nordics. But they will not benefit from the protection of article 5 of the NATO charter in the event of an attack, as long as the 30 member countries have not ratified their membership.

(With AFP)

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