HELSINKI (AP) – Finland was given the green light to join NATO when Turkey ratified the Nordic country’s membership late Thursday, becoming the last country of the 30-member western military alliance to opt out.
All NATO members must vote unanimously to admit a new country. into the alliance. Turkey’s parliament’s decision followed Hungary’s ratification of Finland’s bid earlier this week.
The addition of Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) border with Russia, will more than double the size of NATO’s border with Russia.
However, there are still a few more steps and procedures needed before the northern European nation becomes the 31st full member of NATO:
LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE
Turkey and Hungary send letters of admission to the United States, which is NATO’s depositary or depositary under the alliance’s 1949 founding treaty. The letters are filed in the archives of the US State Department, which tells NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that the conditions for inviting Finland to membership have been met.
NATO sends a letter signed by Stoltenberg urging Finland to join the military alliance.
Finland sends its own acceptance document, signed by Secretary of State Pekka Haavisto, to the US State Department. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö authorized Haavisto to sign the document. Either the Finnish Embassy in Washington or a Finnish government official will deliver the document.
As soon as Finland’s accession document reaches the State Department in Washington, the country will officially become a member of NATO.
Finland and neighboring Sweden jointly applied for NATO membership in May 2022. The countries with close cultural, economic and political ties wanted to join the alliance at the same time.
However, Sweden’s bid has stalled due to opposition from Turkey, whose president has said his country will not ratify membership until disputes between Ankara and Stockholm are settled. The Turkish government has accused Sweden of being too soft on what it believes to be terrorist organizations.
The Hungarian parliament has also yet to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO, and it remains unclear when it will do so.
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