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Sweden, Finland Intensify Lobbying for NATO, What’s next?
By Staff, Agencies
Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde confirmed that Finland will almost certainly apply for membership in NATO, raising the expectation that both countries will join the military alliance despite Moscow’s warnings.
“We know more or less that they [Finland] will apply for NATO membership. And that changes the whole balance,” the top Swedish diplomat was quoted as saying by public broadcaster SVT on Sunday.
She further hastened: “If one of our countries joins, we know that tensions would increase.”
Asked whether she thinks Finland will join NATO, Linde retorted "I think you can say that quite surely."
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has sparked security concerns in both Sweden and neighboring Finland, leading to their intense lobbying for membership in the military alliance.
The two states, who are officially nonaligned militarily, are expected to announce their decisions to apply for NATO membership by May 16.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that both Nordic states are welcome to join the US-led alliance, despite Russia clearly warning against it.
Finland and Sweden will be welcomed to NATO with open arms and their accession process will expectedly take place quickly if they decide to join the Western military alliance, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says.
Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson announced last month that her country would apply for NATO membership.
Last week, Finland’s foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said he hopes the neighboring countries make similar decisions at the same time.
The prospect for a “joint leap” by Sweden and Finland into NATO will be discussed when the prime ministers of both countries, Magdalena Andersson and Sanna Marin, meet at Schloss Meseberg castle, near Berlin, to discuss security issues with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday.
“It is Finland’s wish that Finland and Sweden can adhere to the same timetable in respect of applying for membership to NATO,” Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said at a press briefing following a meeting with Linde in Helsinki on April 29.
Russia has warned that it will deploy nuclear arms near Finland and Sweden if they join the US-led NATO.
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