Sweden breaks military neutrality and joins NATO

Sweden successfully completed its journey to becoming a member of the NATO alliance on Thursday. The Swedish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister deposited the country’s “instrument of accession” at the State Department in Washington, marking this significant milestone.

In a light-hearted ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson shared a moment of camaraderie as they posed for photos together. The two leaders held a blue folder that contained an important document. With a playful tone, Blinken jokingly remarked, “Well, it seems that good things come to those who wait.”

Blinken expressed his warm welcome to Sweden as the newest member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the 32nd country to join the Washington Treaty.

During his speech, Blinken highlighted Sweden’s historical commitment to military neutrality and emphasized the significance of the country deviating from this tradition in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. He acknowledged that Sweden’s decision to defend democracy was driven by the realization of the existential threat posed by Russia’s aggression not only to Sweden but also to other European nations.

“It was far from easy, and certainly not obvious,” Blinken remarked, emphasizing that the process of including Sweden in the alliance required nearly two years of relentless diplomacy.

“Thank you all Allies for welcoming us as the 32nd member,” exclaimed Kristersson on X, announcing Sweden’s NATO membership. He expressed his commitment to unity, solidarity, and burden-sharing, emphasizing that Sweden will fully adhere to the values outlined in the Washington Treaty. “We believe in freedom, democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. Together, we are stronger.”

Sweden’s membership faced obstacles from Turkey and Hungary, which slowed down the process. However, the United States was able to motivate Turkey by giving its approval for the sale of fighter jets to the country. As a result, Turkey eventually agreed to Sweden’s membership. Additionally, Hungary recently gave its consent for Sweden to become a member.

“This is truly a momentous occasion,” expressed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with great enthusiasm. “Sweden has finally earned its rightful position at the table of NATO, where it will have an equal voice in shaping the organization’s policies and making crucial decisions. After more than two centuries of remaining non-aligned, Sweden can now benefit from the protection provided by Article 5, which serves as the ultimate guarantee for the freedom and security of all Allies. With Sweden’s inclusion, we welcome their highly capable armed forces and their exceptional defense industry.”

On March 11, Sweden’s flag will be proudly hoisted alongside the flags of the other 31 Allies in a special ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels. This symbolic gesture will also be replicated at various NATO commands across Europe and North America, showcasing Sweden’s commitment to the alliance.

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MBS Staff
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