Finland to Join NATO on Tuesday 

April 3, 2023

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that Finland would join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday.

Finland would become the 31st member of NATO, which is the largest military alliance in the world. 

Despite having asserted military neutrality for more than 100 years, Finland applied to join NATO last spring in response to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of its sovereign neighbor, Ukraine.

“This is a historic week,” Stoltenberg told reporters Monday on the eve of a NATO meeting of foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Brussels. “From tomorrow, Finland will be a full member of the alliance.”

Finland had planned to join the alliance jointly with its neighbor Sweden, which applied at the same time, breaking its more than 200 years of military neutrality. However, Sweden’s application has been held up by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in part over Stockholm’s unwillingness to prosecute anti-Islam activists and pro-Kurdish groups inside Sweden. 

A nation’s membership application must be approved unanimously, and Turkey was the last of NATO’s 30 nations to ratify Finland’s membership. 

In December, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden was not even “halfway” through fulfilling the commitments necessary to secure Turkey’s support.

NATO officials hope to be able to bring Sweden into the alliance before a July meeting of NATO nations’ leaders—including President Biden—in Lithuania. 

“Sweden is not left alone. Sweden is as close as it can come as a full-fledged member,” Stoltenberg said.

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