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Sweden joins NATO alliance

Sweden officially joined NATO on Thursday as its 32nd member, nearly two years after first applying for membership to the military alliance. Earlier on Thursday, the Swedish government issued a statement in which it shared that it was holding an extraordinary government meeting to formally vote on joining the alliance after all current NATO members approved its accession.

Following the vote, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson—who was in Washington DC at the time—met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to deposit Sweden’s instrument of accession, thereby making Sweden a member of NATO and a fully participating ally. “Sweden is now a NATO member,” Kristersson shared to X (formerly Twitter). “Thank you Allies for welcoming us as the 32nd member. We will strive for unity, solidarity, and burden-sharing, and will fully adhere to the Washington Treaty values: freedom, democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. Stronger together.”

The news was subsequently confirmed with a statement from NATO:

This is a historic day. Sweden will now take its rightful place at NATO’s table, with an equal say in shaping NATO policies and decisions. After over 200 years of non-alignment Sweden now enjoys the protection granted under Article 5, the ultimate guarantee of the Allies’ freedom and security. Sweden brings with it capable armed forces and a first-class defense industry. Today’s accession demonstrates that NATO’s door remains open and that every nation has the right to choose its own path.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took to X to share his own statement. Stoltenberg said Sweden was “taking its rightful place at our table.” He went on to say, “Sweden’s accession makes NATO stronger, Sweden safer, and the whole Alliance more secure. I look forward to raising their flag at NATO HQ on Monday.”

NATO—officially the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or North Atlantic Alliance—is a deterrent intergovernmental military alliance consisting of European and North American states. Established in the aftermath of World War II, it operates on a framework of collective defense; the independent member states, upon accession, agree to defend each other against attacks by third parties. This is perhaps best illustrated by the alliance’s mantra, “An attack against one is an attack against all,” which is enshrined in Article 5 of the founding Washington Treaty.

Sweden first applied for accession to NATO alongside Finland in May 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after historic policies of military non-alignment and neutrality. Though most member states were quick to ratify Sweden’s bid, two did not. NATO member states Hungary and Türkiye initially opposed the Nordic country’s accession, owing to certain political strains between their respective governments and Sweden’s government.

However, Türkiye ultimately approved Sweden’s accession in January. Hungary followed shortly thereafter, voting to ratify on February 26.

To mark its official accession to the alliance, Sweden’s flag will be raised alongside those of the other 31 Allies in a ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on March 11.

Article: Sweden joins NATO alliance to become 32nd member state

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