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Joining the military alliance: Sweden is the 32nd member of NATO

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Joining the military alliance: Sweden is the 32nd member of NATO

As of: March 7, 2024 6:34 p.m

Almost two years after applying to join, Sweden has become an official NATO member. The Scandinavian country deposited its instrument of accession in Washington as the 32nd member country of the military alliance.

Sweden is a member of NATO after an almost two-year standoff. The Scandinavian country deposited its instrument of accession in Washington as the 32nd member country of the military alliance. The ceremony at the US State Department was attended by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“This is a historic moment for Sweden,” Blinken said. “It is historic for the alliance. It is historic for the transatlantic relationship.” NATO is now bigger and stronger than ever before.

Shortly after the handover of the certificate of accession, Kristersson also spoke of a historic event: “It is a historically short process that nevertheless sometimes felt long. It required impatience and patience in perfect harmony. Today is a victory for freedom.” On Platform X, he thanked all NATO countries for joining the alliance.

“Historic day” for NATO

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined Kristersson and Blinken – he also spoke of a “historic day”. After more than 200 years of non-alignment, Sweden now enjoys the protection afforded by Article 5, “the ultimate guarantee of the freedom and security of the Allies.” At the same time, Sweden’s accession also makes NATO stronger. The country has an efficient armed forces and a first-class defense industry, said Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg has recently repeatedly emphasized that, in his view, Finland and Sweden joining the alliance is a clear sign of the failure of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies. Putin went to war against Ukraine with the declared goal of having less NATO presence in Europe and preventing further expansion of the alliance, he explained. Now Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he wanted.

Sweden gives up neutrality

Under the impression of Russia’s major invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Sweden gave up its alliance neutrality and, like Finland, applied to join NATO. However, Sweden had already cooperated with NATO countries beforehand.

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Turkey initially delayed accession, but gave in in the case of Finland last year and also gave up its opposition to Sweden’s accession in January. Hungary was reluctant at the end, but then ratified its accession at the end of February. The other NATO members had agreed long beforehand.

Nina Barth, ARD Washington, tagesschau, March 7, 2024 6:27 p.m

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