Sweden Officially Joins Alliance, Near-Completing the ‘NATO Lake’ in Baltic

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by Oliver JJ Lane, Breitbart:

Sweden formally ended its long history of quasi-neutrality on Thursday as it signed articles with NATO in Washington, becoming the 32nd member of the alliance and the second new joiner in a year.

Sweden, like Finland in April 2023, has joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The official signing of the instrument of accession with the U.S. State Department, as represented by Antony Blinken, took place with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Washington D.C..

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The U.S. State Department is the depository for the Treaty of Washington which founded NATO in 1949 and consequently is the body which signs up new members. A similar ceremony took place for Finland last year.

Sweden and Finland both applied to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine in 2022, fearing a resurgent Moscow looking covetously on its neighbours. Sweden’s addition to NATO completes, to some extent, what is called the ‘NATO lake’ of the Baltic sea. Now every state bordering the great water is a NATO member except Russia, which has its ports of St Petersburg and Kaliningrad (Konigsberg) on the sea.

While Finland’s membership was processed quickly, Sweden had butted heads with various NATO members in the past and it took time to persuade some states, predominantly Turkey and Hungary, that it would be a positive new member.

In the case of Turkey, for instance, Ankara objected to Sweden giving refuge to fighters the Turkish government considers to be terrorists, and the matter of Sweden’s strong freedom of speech laws allowing Quran burnings both stood in the way of getting the go ahead. Any single NATO member state can veto the application of a new state, an essential safeguard given article 5 of the alliance determines that an attack on one is an attack on all, and absolutely requires mutual defence.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said: “Today is truly a historic day… We are humbled, but we are also proud. We will live up to high expectations from all NATO allies. United we stand. Unity and solidarity will be Sweden’s guiding light”.

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