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The Finnish Parliament has approved the government’s proposal to join NATO Finland

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Finland’s parliament overwhelmingly approved the government’s offer to join NATO, as the country’s president said he was confident that neighboring Sweden would overcome the Turkish opposition with its historic membership bid.

In a day Sweden has confirmed its intention to join the allianceFinnish lawmakers voted 188 to eight in favor of the government’s proposal to do the same, paving the way for simultaneous applications within hours.

This came after the White House announced that Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson would meet with US President Joe Biden on Thursday to discuss their applications to NATO.

Ankara has said it will not support any of the applications, citing the history of the deployment of Kurdish militants in Sweden and Finland and the 2019 decision to impose an embargo on arms exports to Ankara in connection with Turkey’s military operations in Syria.

Niiniste said during an official visit to Stockholm on Tuesday that Turkey’s position “has changed very quickly and become tougher in the last few days”, but he is confident that “constructive discussions” will resolve the situation.

Niiniste said his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, backed the intention of non-aligned countries to join NATO when they spoke a month ago, but last week he said, “not favorable.” We need to continue our discussion. I am an optimist. “

Erdogan said Monday Ankara will oppose the applications and it made no sense for diplomats to even come to Ankara to discuss it. Turkey claims that Finland and Sweden provide asylum to people who it says are linked to groups it calls terrorist.

As a result of a radical policy change caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Swedish government has confirmed its intention to apply to join the 30-member alliance on Monday after a similar ad the rulers of Finland the day before.

“Historical day”: the leadership of Finland has confirmed its intention to join NATO – video

The two countries are expected to apply for NATO membership together by the end of Tuesday. Ann Linde, the foreign minister, signed Sweden’s request on Tuesday, and her Finnish counterpart Peka Haavista said Finland’s request would be completed by the end of the day, Swedish media reported.

Addressing the Swedish parliament, Niiniste said that the two neighbors “took peace for granted”, but on February 24 “peace was broken” – a reference to the date of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Our old ways of dealing with things are no longer in line with the new situation,” he said. “Our relationship with Russia have changed. “

Joining NATO requires the unanimous approval of all 30 members, and while it is unclear how serious an obstacle Turkey’s objections will be, many analysts believe Erdogan, who faces next year’s election, is seeking concessions for domestic political advantage and ultimately will not impose veto on Nordic countries’ bid nations.

“They know that Sweden and Finland inside the alliance are good for the alliance as a whole, and I don’t anticipate that they will block it in the end,” said Anna Wislander of the Atlantic Council’s think tank. “But they will negotiate along the way.”

After numerous warnings that Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO would have “serious consequences”, including the possible deployment of nuclear missiles in the Baltic region, Moscow seems to be downplaying this prospect.

President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he sees no “immediate threat” if NATO’s military infrastructure is not deployed in Finland and Sweden, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that it would not matter much as the two countries have long been involved in the NATO exercise.

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“NATO takes their territory into account when planning military advances to the east,” Lavrov said. “So there’s probably no difference in that sense. Let’s see how their territory is used in practice in the North Atlantic Alliance. “

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Barrel said on Tuesday that all EU member states would support the applications of Finland and Sweden. “I am confident that they will receive strong support from all member states, because it increases our unity and makes us stronger,” he said in Brussels.

Barrel added that he hopes NATO will overcome Turkey’s objections. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht also said that although it was important for party members to talk “intensively” with Turkey, she was confident that Ankara would be won.

“This is an improvement for NATO when two countries as strong as Sweden and Finland join,” Lambrecht said. “I am convinced that Turkey will be convinced of that as well.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/17/finland-parliament-approve-nato-sweden-turkey

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