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Sweden officially joins NATO

2024-03-11T14:53:21+00:00
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  • Sweden joined NATO.
  • They end decades of post-World War II neutrality.
  • NATO countries welcome them.

Sweden joined NATO formally on Thursday as the 32nd member of the transatlantic military alliance.

Finally, after decades of neutrality following World War II, a decision was made that marks a significant shift.

Concerns about Russian aggression in Europe have escalated following its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

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Sweden joined NATO

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Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken presided over the ceremony.

Sweden’s “instrument of accession” to the alliance was officially deposited at the State Department, according to The Associated Press.

«This is a historic moment for Sweden. It’s historic for the alliance. It’s historic for the transatlantic relationship,” Blinken said.

«Our NATO alliance is now stronger, larger than it’s ever been,» he added.

The White House issued a statement

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Later Thursday, Kristersson visited the White House and was a guest of honor at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress.

The White House said having Sweden as a NATO ally “will make the United States and our allies even safer.”

«NATO is the most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world…

…and it is as critical today to ensuring the security of our citizens as it was 75 years ago when our alliance was founded out of the wreckage of World War II,» the White House said in a statement.

A historic day

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described it as “a historic day.”

«Sweden will now take its rightful place at NATO’s table, with an equal say in shaping NATO policies and decisions,» he said in a statement.

On Monday, the Swedish flag will fly at the military organization’s headquarters in Brussels, marking a significant milestone.

Stoltenberg stressed that the Nordic country “now enjoys the protection granted under Article 5, the ultimate guarantee of allies’ freedom and security.”

Sweden is now protected by the other NATO countries

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Article 5 of the NATO treaty obliges all members to come to the aid of an ally whose territory or security is threatened.

It has only been activated once — by the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001 — and is the guarantee of collective security that Sweden has sought since Russia invaded Ukraine.

«Sweden’s accession makes NATO stronger, Sweden safer and the whole alliance more secure,» Stoltenberg said.

He added that the measure «demonstrates that NATO’s door remains open and that every nation has the right to choose its own path.»

Some countries opposed Sweden joining NATO

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Sweden’s membership had been delayed due to objections from NATO members Turkey and Hungary.

Turkey expressed concern that Sweden was harboring and not taking sufficient measures against Kurdish groups it considers terrorists.

And Hungary’s populist president, Viktor Orban has shown pro-Russian sentiment and does not share the alliance’s determination to support Ukraine.

After months of delay, Turkey ratified Sweden’s admission earlier this year and Hungary did so this week, according to The Associated Press.

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