BRUSSELS, July 5. /TASS/. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured Finland and Sweden of NATO’s support while the ratification process continues, speaking at a news conference after NATO’s allies signed an accession protocol for the two countries.
"The security of Finland and Sweden is important for our alliance, including during the ratification process," Stoltenberg stressed.
"Many allies have already made clear commitments to Finland's and Sweden's security, and NATO has increased our presence in the region, including with more exercises," he said. The secretary general urged all NATO member countries to ratify these protocols as soon as possible to ensure an early admission.
Earlier on Tuesday, NATO Ambassadors signed the Accession Protocols for Finland and Sweden at NATO Headquarters in the presence of Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde.
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 As a result, Turkey rescinded its veto, and subsequently the three parties signed a memorandum paving the way for Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
Finland and Sweden on Monday completed the NATO accession talks.