Statement by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Finland and Sweden's NATO membership
NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
17 Mar. 2023
I welcome today's decision by Türkiye to move ahead with the ratification of Finland's membership in NATO. This will strengthen Finland's security, it will strengthen Sweden's security, and it will strengthen NATO's security. I hope that the Turkish Grand National Assembly will vote to ratify as soon as possible.
At the NATO Summit in Madrid last June, all Allies made the historic decision to invite Finland and Sweden to join our Alliance. Since then, we have seen the fastest ratification process in NATO's modern history.
At a critical time for our security, this will make our Alliance stronger and safer.
I recently visited Türkiye and met with President Erdoğan. The President and I agreed to convene a meeting of Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden at NATO Headquarters. At that meeting last week, all recognised that considerable progress has been made in implementing the trilateral memorandum signed in Madrid, and that rapid ratifications for Finland and Sweden are in everyone's interest.
The most important thing is that both Finland and Sweden become full members of NATO quickly, not whether they join at exactly the same time.
Last year's decision to invite both Finland and Sweden has fundamentally strengthened their relationship with NATO. As a consequence, their security is much enhanced.
They are sitting around NATO's table, integrating into our political and military structures, exercising more with Allies. Both countries have received bilateral security assurances from many NATO countries, including the US, UK, Germany, and France. So it is inconceivable that NATO would not respond should either Finland or Sweden come under attack. Their security matters to NATO.
I look forward to a rapid conclusion of the accession process, and to welcoming both Finland and Sweden to the NATO family as full members as soon as possible.
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