Sweden formally applies to join NATO - Swedish mission to NATO HQ
BERLIN. May 17 (Interfax) - The Swedish authorities on Tuesday submitted an application to join NATO, Sweden's mission to the alliance's headquarters said.
"This morning Foreign Minister Ann Linde signed the Swedish application to join NATO," it said on Twitter.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said the day before that she would inform NATO of Sweden's wish to join the alliance. Finland also adopted an official decision on Sunday to apply for NATO membership.
The multi-step process of admitting a member to NATO is coordinated by the North Atlantic Council, which is the alliance's principal political decision-making body. When a membership application is received, it is first reviewed by the North Atlantic Council, after which a membership agreement needs to be ratified at the national level by all 30 NATO member countries.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey cannot agree to membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO because these countries refuse to extradite terrorists and have imposed sanctions on Ankara. "There is no point" for the Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers "to come to Turkey in order to persuade it to approve their NATO membership bids," he said.
In the end, Turkey came up with three conditions for admitting Finland and Sweden to NATO: stopping support for groups designated by Turkey as terrorist, providing clear security guarantees and lifting export bans on Turkey.