SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Finland, Sweden will begin NATO membership process in May, says local media

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced Finland and Sweden to reexamine their stance of military neutrality, both countries said that they will express there intention of joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in May. Finnish tabloid newspaper Iltalehti and Expressen in Sweden cited sources close to the matter while reporting this.
The Nordic countries have tightened cooperation with NATO since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
According to Iltalehti, the leaders of Finland and Sweden plan to meet in the week of May 16 and after that publicly announce their plans to apply to join the alliance.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto declined to comment as per Reuters, but repeated his longstanding view that he would prefer Finland and Sweden made similar choices.

Swedish daily Aftonbladet reported separately, citing sources close to Swedish government offices, that the United States and Britain had promised Sweden increased military presence, more in-depth military exercises and ‘strong political’ support from NATO countries” during a possible NATO application process.
The Swedish foreign ministry has declined to comment on media reports

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said two weeks ago, while visiting her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson, that she expected Finland to make its decision whether to apply for NATO membership within weeks.

Stockholm is conducting a review of security policy, which includes a view on possible NATO membership, with the results due by mid-May.

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