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Sweden formally joins NATO

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg claimed that NATO will be stronger with Sweden and that Ukraine was "closer to NATO than ever before."

Funcionarios izan la bandera nacional sueca en un mástil durante una ceremonia de izado de la bandera para la adhesión de Suecia a la OTAN en la sede de la Alianza del Atlántico Norte en Bruselas, el 11 de marzo de 2024.


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(AFP - VOZ MEDIA) The Swedish flag was raised this Monday at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in a ceremony that formalized the country's alliance as the 32nd member state.

In a ceremony held in the rain, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg proceeded to raise the flag together with the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

"NATO is now bigger and stronger. Ukraine is closer to NATO than ever before, and as the brave Ukrainians continue to fight for their freedom, we stand by their side," Stoltenberg said shortly before welcoming Sweden's new ambassador to the North Atlantic Council, the alliance's decision-making body.

According to Stoltenberg, Russian President Vladimir Putin "failed" in his attempt to weaken NATO. He also stated that Sweden has "taken its rightful place at NATO’s table under the shield of Article 5 protection" of the alliance's founding treaty on reciprocal defense.

This article, stated the secretary general, is "the ultimate guarantee of our freedom and security. All for one and one for all." The article is a fundamental pillar of NATO. It requires each country of the Alliance to come to aid in the event of an attack against one or more of its members.

In reality, it has only been used once, in support of the United States, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

A difficult negotiation

Kristersson said, "We will share burdens, responsibilities and risks with our allies. The security situation in our region has not been this serious since the Second World War." The Swedish president claimed that Russia "will stay a threat to Euro-Atlantic security for a foreseeable future."

In February 2022, Sweden decided to put aside practically two centuries of neutrality and apply for membership in NATO, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

However, the Swedish accession process was vetoed by a key NATO member, Turkey. The country objected to accepting Sweden's bid, claiming the country harbors "terrorists." Given this position, Hungary decided it would vote against Sweden's bid as long as Turkey voted against it. Other member states put pressure on Turkey until the country finally agreed to accept Sweden's accession. Hungary also agreed.

With Sweden's recent acceptance, all countries bordering the Baltic Sea, except for Russia, are members of NATO.