Strengthens Defense, US Senate approves Sweden and Finland to become NATO members

Strengthens Defense, US Senate approves Sweden and Finland to become NATO members
US Senate agrees to ratify NATO membership for Sweden and Finland

Washington - The United States Senate (US) agreed to ratify NATO membership for Sweden and Finland in a historic vote aimed at strengthening the defense bloc amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

NATO formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance at the end of June and the decision must be submitted to the parliaments and legislatures of the 30 member states for final ratification.

President Joe Biden sent the protocol for ratification to the Senate in July, paving the way for the vote, which needs to be approved by two-thirds of the Senate to succeed.

The final Senate vote tally was 95 to 1, with Republican Senator Josh Hawley voting in opposition and another Republican Senator, Rand Paul, voting in support.

A US State Department spokesman said "After the Senate approves the Swedish and Finnish NATO accession protocols, the next step in the ratification process is for the President to sign the treaty's instrument of ratification. After the President signs the instrument of ratification, that instrument is deposited (in the case of a multilateral treaty) with the depositary of the treaty. , which in the case of NATO, is the Department.

The spokesman said these steps would not take place on the same day the Senate approved, and final arrangements for depositing the instruments of ratification had not yet been made.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in his remarks to the House before the vote predicted it would be as decisive as bipartisan. McConnell argued that including Sweden and Finland into NATO would only strengthen the most successful military alliance in human history.

McConnell also used his spare time to target lawmakers who did not support the resolution. "If any senators are looking for a defensible reason to vote no, I wish them luck," he said. "This is a major blow to national security that deserves unanimous bipartisan support."

Sweden and Finland both announced their intention to join NATO in May, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to a sudden change in their attitude towards joining the bloc.

The reason most countries join NATO is because of Article 5, which stipulates that all signatories consider an attack on one member an attack on all. Article 5 has been the cornerstone of the alliance since its founding in 1949 as a counterweight to the Soviet Union.

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