Thu, 30 Jun 2022

Berlin [Germany], May 15 (ANI): NATO Foreign Ministers met in Berlin on Sunday to discuss the possible membership application of Finland and Sweden as well as to reaffirm NATO's support for Ukraine in the wake of Russia's invasion.

Addressing the media via video link alongside German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Stoltenberg said that Sweden and Finland are NATO's closest partners and if they decide to apply for membership, it would be "historic".

"Their membership in NATO would increase our shared security, demonstrate that NATO's door is open and that aggression does not pay," Stoltenberg said, reiterating that all sovereign nations have the right to choose their own path.

Wrapping up the two-day meeting of Ministers, Stoltenberg said the Allies also discussed support for Ukraine, further strengthening NATO's deterrence and defence as well as the longer-term implications of Russia's war against Ukraine. After Russian forces failed to take Kyiv, they are pulling back from Kharkiv and their Donbass offensive has stalled, Stoltenberg said. "Russia is not achieving its strategic objectives", he said.

"President Putin wants Ukraine defeated, NATO down and Europe and North America divided. But Ukraine stands, NATO is stronger than ever. Europe and North America are solidly united. Ukraine can win this war", the Secretary General said, adding that the Allies must continue to hike up their military aid for Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said that Ministers also discussed the upcoming NATO Madrid Summit, which is expected to take decisions on reinforcing the Alliance's posture, strengthening support for global partners and adopting the Alliance's next strategic concept, the blueprint for NATO's future adaptation to a more dangerous and competitive world.

Finland on Sunday announced that the country has agreed to join the alliance, a decision that is likely to perturb Russia, at a time when the Ukraine conflict is going on for over two months and resulted in significant losses on both sides.

This statement was issued after Finland's president and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy finalised a report on the country's accession to NATO.

The ruling Swedish Social Democratic Party also made the official decision to back the country's bid for NATO membership.

"At its meeting today, May 15, 2022, the board of the Social Democratic Party decided that the party will work to have Sweden apply for NATO membership," the party said in a statement.

It comes hours after Sweden's neighbour Finland announced the official decision to join NATO. The decision will be discussed in the Finnish Parliament on Monday, and the voting is expected to be held on Tuesday. (ANI)

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