BRUSSELS (VG) On Tuesday, Finland will become NATO member country number 31. At headquarters in Brussels, work is underway to organize the final formalities.
When the Finnish flag is hoisted in front of NATO headquarters, the country becomes a full member of NATO.
But before that, some formal steps have to be taken.
As the last of the 30 member states, the Turkish National Assembly officially accepted Finland’s membership.
It happened on Thursday afternoon. Shortly thereafter, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sent confirmation that Turkey’s consent, and that the process in member states had been completed.
– I just spoke with President Sauli Niinistö to congratulate him on this historic moment, Stoltenberg said at the time.
As VG reported earlier on Monday, Finland will become a member on Tuesday. This was confirmed by Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference at 1pm on Monday.
Here, Türkiye gave the green light for Finland’s NATO membership
During the grand ceremony, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
Now the secretary general’s office is waiting for official documents from Ankara.
They will be handed over to an authorized representative from the US, presumably Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Tuesday. This happened at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The US will then confirm to Stoltenberg’s office that it has accepted the resolutions from 30 parliaments.
At the founding of the alliance in 1949, the first member nations decided that the United States should formally deposit the NATO agreements and accept documents from additional member states. But instead of going to Washington with documents to Finland, it’s likely that formalities could be arranged in Brussels for Finland.
Stoltenberg would then send an official letter to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who would then confirm that Finland would become a member. The Finnish National Assembly has done its homework and officially approved the agreement that brought Finland into NATO.
– There will be a ceremony at half past four on Tuesday afternoon, Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Monday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Meeting
At the founding of the alliance in 1949, the first member nations decided that the United States should formally deposit the NATO agreements and accept documents from additional member states. But instead of going to Washington with the documents to Finland, it’s likely that the formalities could be arranged in Brussels.
In recent days, the raising of the Finnish flag had been planned as the start of an ordinary meeting of NATO foreign ministers, which started in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon and lasted until Wednesday, VG was told.
Swedes under arrest
Approval from the other applicant country, Sweden, is still pending in the Hungarian and Turkish parliaments, but since the Madrid summit in July 2022, Sweden has participated in all formal NATO meetings.
The two Nordic countries submitted their applications at the same time on May 18 last year.
But the right to vote and mutual defense guarantees were delayed for Sweden, until the last two countries gave the green light.
Jens Stoltenberg has previously indicated that it will take place before or during the next NATO summit in Vilnius in July.
– I am also looking forward to welcoming Sweden as a full member of the NATO family as soon as possible, Stoltenberg said on Thursday evening.
– Considerable strength
At a press conference on Tuesday, Stoltenberg also said that Finland would make a major military contribution to NATO.
– Finland will contribute a significant, well-trained and equipped military force – in addition to a large fleet of modern combat aircraft. Finland is one of the few countries that did not reduce its military strength after the Cold War, maintaining a high level of preparedness, said Stoltenberg.
He also pointed out that NATO’s border with Russia is now doubled.
– Putin wanted less NATO, but he got the opposite: more NATO presence near his borders, and two new NATO members, Stoltenberg said.
He said efforts to bring Finland into military cooperation were longstanding.
– The process of integrating Finland into the NATO command structure started last summer, together with Sweden. No further decisions should be taken after Finland is officially accepted as a member tomorrow, Stoltenberg said.
Hope for Sweden
Stoltenberg was also asked if he was disappointed Sweden could not become a member at the same time as Finland – which has been a goal of the NATO leadership, Sweden and Finland.
However, Türkiye has so far refused to ratify Sweden’s application. But Stoltenberg is an optimist.
– I’m sure it will happen soon. This has my highest priority. My aim is to ensure that we get Sweden in the near future. At the same time we celebrate Finland becoming a full member, we must work hard to ensure that Sweden follows suit soon, said Stoltenberg, who added that Sweden would also be safer when Finland joins the alliance.
According to the RIA news agency, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko stated that Russia would strengthen its military capacity in the west and northwest in response to Finland’s membership in NATO. It was written by Reuters.
At the same time, the Belarusian Belta news agency reported that the country’s Ministry of Defense is testing the combat readiness of military forces.
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