Sweden officially becomes the 32nd member of NATO

Sweden has officially completed the process of becoming a full member of NATO. On March 7, in Washington, D.C., Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson handed over the signed instrument of accession to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

This is the last formal step in the procedure for Sweden to be considered a full member of the North Atlantic Alliance after about 200 years of neutrality.

The US State Department has already released the relevant protocol. The Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, thanked NATO member states for accepting his country into the Alliance. 

“We will strive for unity, solidarity, and burden-sharing, and we will fully adhere to the values of the Washington Treaty: freedom, democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We are stronger together,” the Prime Minister emphasized. 

At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that Sweden “takes its rightful place at our table.” He noted that the country would strengthen its alliance. 

“I look forward to raising their flag at NATO headquarters on Monday,” Stoltenberg added.

Earlier, the US State Department confirmed that Washington had received the last instrument of ratification for Sweden’s accession from Hungary. 

After that, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg officially invited Sweden to join, and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, who arrived in Washington in advance with the Foreign Minister, signed the accession documents. 

Sweden’s accession to NATO, which was initially planned to coincide with Finland’s but was delayed for over a year, has now concluded.

At first, the main obstacle was Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who formally claimed Sweden as a political refuge for his political opponents and Kurdish leaders, but the real reason was Erdogan’s bargaining with the United States to buy F-16 fighter jets.

Then Hungary unexpectedly became an obstacle, even though Budapest did not put forward specific demands. Despite repeatedly promising not to be the last in the ratification process, Hungary completed the process after Turkey, and even then found a way to further delay Sweden’s final accession to NATO.

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