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EUROPE: Finland PM urges rapid ratification of NATO bid

FINNISH Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Wednesday she hoped NATO members would move “as soon as possible” to ratify Helsinki’s application to join the military alliance.

She acknowledged there were “some issues that need to be solved” — after Finland and Sweden, both fearful of Russian aggression following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, submitted a joint application.

“We want to make sure that each NATO member state (is) ratifying our application as soon as possible,” Marin told reporters after talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in Rome.

“I think this is the key issue when it comes to security, as fast a ratification process as possible is the best security guarantee for Finland and for Sweden at this stage.”

Draghi offered Italy’s support to both countries, saying: “We want to speed up the internal procedures to make membership effective as soon as possible.”

Finland and Sweden are giving up decades of military non-alignment by bidding to join NATO, a move that could represent the organisation’s most significant expansion in decades.

But the applications face resistance from NATO member Turkey, which has threatened to block them over accusations the Nordic neighbours act as safe havens for armed groups opposed to Ankara.

Marin said she doubted “much will change” with Finland’s membership, noting her country’s already close partnership with NATO.

She argued Finland would be an asset to the alliance, saying “we already have very good defence capabilities”.

“But I think it’s important to be part of article five, the common security. This is a key issue why we are applying for NATO membership”.

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Naija Times