STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden signed a formal application for NATO membership on Tuesday, a day after the country announced it would seek membership in the 30-member military alliance. In neighboring Finland, lawmakers are expected later today to formally approve Finnish leaders’ decision to join as well.

The measures taken by the two Nordic countries, ending more than 200 years of military non-alignment by Sweden and Finland’s non-alignment after the Second World War, have angered the Kremlin.

While most NATO members want to welcome the two countries as soon as possible, Turkey has potentially complicated their membership by saying it cannot allow them to become members due to their perceived inaction against Kurdish militants. in exile.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday doubled down on comments from last week that the two Nordic countries’ path to NATO would be anything but easy. The current 30 member countries of NATO must agree to open the door to new members. He accused the two Nordic countries of refusing to extradite “terrorists” wanted by his country.

In Stockholm, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde signed the official application to join the Alliance, which she said will be sent to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Political cartoons about world leaders

political cartoons

“It feels like we made the best decision for Sweden,” she said as she signed the document.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto arrived in Sweden for an official visit and was welcomed by Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, who had invited him. Niinisto is due to address the Swedish parliament in a speech expected to focus on NATO and meet Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

On Twitter, Niinisto said “the timing is excellent, a strong and stable northern region is our common cause.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.