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Sweden approves NATO membership bid

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party has announced its support for the country’s NATO membership bid, following a similar move by the Finnish government.

In a statement published on Sunday, the Social Democrats pledged “to work for Sweden to apply for membership in NATO.” However, the party leadership stressed that if the application were successful, Sweden would stand “against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory.”

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Finland and Sweden decided to reconsider their long-standing policy of non-alignment following a major change in public opinion after the launch of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. According to recent polls, a majority in both countries now support membership of NATO. Moscow has warned Helsinki and Stockholm against joining the alliance and promised an appropriate response should they make such a move.

Turkey had earlier expressed its objections to Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling the two Nordic countries “guesthouses for terrorist organizations.” He was referring to the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP/C), which have been outlawed in Turkey.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana, however, said he is sure the alliance would be able to overcome Turkey’s reservations.

In early April, the head of the military bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, said NATO “will warmly welcome” Finland and Sweden if they apply to join, and is prepared to make a decision on membership “quite quickly.”

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