May 18. 2024. 4:34

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Ukraine war: Finland MPs to vote on Nato bid

Finnish MPs will vote on Wednesday afternoon on speeding up Finland’s Nato ascension process.

Both Finland, which has one of Europe’s longest borders with Russia, and Sweden dropped their decades-long policies of military non-alignment and applied to join Nato in May last year in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

But facing fewer diplomatic hurdles than Stockholm, Helsinki wants to move forward even before Finland’s general elections in April, as public opinion also supports membership.

Finland and Sweden have the backing of all but two of Nato’s 30 members, the holdouts being Hungary and Turkey.

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Ukraine war: Finland MPs to vote on Nato bid


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Passing a Bill means that Finland can act swiftly even if the ratifications come in before a new government has been formed.

“The time is now to ratify and to fully welcome Finland and Sweden as members,” Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday during a visit to Finland.

The legislation is expected to pass easily, after the initial membership bid in May was supported by 188 of the 200 members in parliament.

While passing the Bill does not mean that Finland will automatically join Nato after ratification by Turkey and Hungary, it puts in place a deadline for how long it can wait for its neighbour.

Elsewhere US secretary of state Antony Blinken has warned the leaders of central Asian nations against relying on Russia.

In Kazakhstan for meetings with top central Asian diplomats, Mr Blinken said no country, particularly those that have traditionally been in Moscow’s orbit, can afford to ignore the threats posed by Russian aggression to not only their territory but to the international rules-based order and the global economy.

In all of his discussions, Mr Blinken stressed the importance of respect for “sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.” – Guardian