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Finland not expecting to join NATO before fall — newspaper

The country hopes to sign the accession protocol in Brussels on Tuesday, but the ratification process in the 30 national parliaments will take longer, Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto specified

MADRID, July 1. /TASS/. Finland doesn’t expect its entry to NATO to be formalized before this fall, the country’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said in an interview with El Mundo on Friday.

"We hope to sign the accession protocol in Brussels on Tuesday, but the ratification process in the 30 national parliaments will take longer," Finland’s top diplomat told the Spanish newspaper. "We have seen the speed in the US Senate, which has already started the process, and I think there are many countries that are even competing to be the first to ratify it. But there will be parliaments that stop their activity during the summer and resume it in the fall," he added.

"When we made the decision [to join NATO] at the national level and reported it to [Russian] President Putin, he replied that it was a mistake, because Russia was not a threat to Finland," the paper quoted Haavisto as saying. "We told him that it was our decision and that we were responsible for it," he added.

On May 18, Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO. They were supposed to receive an invitation to join at the bloc’s Madrid summit, but Turkey’s veto blocked the process. On June 28, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held negotiations in Madrid on the topic. As a result, Turkey rescinded its veto, and subsequently the three parties signed a memorandum paving the way for Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

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