Sweden’s ambassador to Nato, Axel Wernhoff, together with his Finnish colleague Klaus Korhonen, crossed the road from their offices to submit the two countries’ indication letters, both signed yesterday by their respective foreign ministers, at Nato’s headquarters.
They were met by Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who thanked the two countries for what he called “a historic step”.
“This is a good day at a critical moment for our security,” he said. “You have both made your choice after thorough democratic processes and I warmly welcome the requests by both Sweden and Finland to join Nato. You are our closest partners and your membership in Nato would increase our shared security.”
Nato’s ambassadors met at 10am to discuss the two countries applications. Until a few days ago, Nato was expected to take less than a day to decide to formally invite the two countries to join from the time the letters were submitted.
But according to Sweden’s TT newswire, the attempts of Turkey to block the two countries may delay this until early next week.
Turkey, which like all member states has a veto over new members, has accused Sweden and Finland of acting as safe
havens for armed Kurdish groups opposed to Ankara.
In a veiled reference to Turkey’s recent threat to block Sweden and Finland’s application, Stoltenberg expressed Nato’s willingness to work through any outstanding issues.
“The security issues of all allies have to be taken into account and we are determined to work through all issues and reach rapid conclusions,” he said.
He also pointed to the promises of security support for Sweden during the transition phase, that have come in recent days from member states, adding that Nato was “already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region”. Nato and its allies would continue, he said, “to adapt as necessary.”
Stoltenberg has been working from home after testing positive for Covid-19 last week.
— Sweden at NATO (@SwedenNato) May 18, 2022