Sweden Joins NATO: Flag Raised at Alliance Headquarters in Brussels
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies 

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria attend a flag-raising ceremony at NATO headquarters following the accession of Sweden to the alliance, in Brussels, Belgium March 11, 2024 [Yves Herman/Reuters]

In a historic moment, the flag of Sweden was proudly raised at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, signaling the country’s official entry into the military alliance. The ceremony, presided over by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, marked Sweden’s integration into the transatlantic grouping, solidifying its commitment to collective security and cooperation.

Amidst the rain-soaked backdrop, Prime Minister Kristersson expressed high expectations for Sweden’s role within NATO, emphasizing the country’s pride in becoming the alliance’s 32nd member. “We have chosen you, and you have chosen us. All for one, and one for all,” declared Kristersson, reaffirming Sweden’s dedication to upholding the values enshrined in NATO’s founding principles.

Stoltenberg echoed Kristersson’s sentiments, highlighting the significance of Sweden’s accession in the face of geopolitical challenges, particularly Russia’s aggressive actions in the region. He emphasized that Sweden’s entry into NATO sends a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that his attempts to weaken the alliance have ultimately failed.

“When President Putin launched his full-scale invasion two years ago, he wanted less NATO and more control over his neighbors. He wanted to destroy Ukraine as a sovereign state, but he failed,” remarked Stoltenberg, underscoring NATO’s unwavering commitment to collective defense and solidarity.

The ceremony coincided with the commencement of NATO drills involving 20,000 troops from 13 countries in the high north of Sweden, as well as Finland and Norway. These exercises underscore NATO’s readiness to respond to emerging security threats and bolster regional stability.

Sweden’s journey to NATO membership was not without obstacles, with the process delayed due to the unanimous support required from all NATO members. However, with formal consent from Turkey in January and Hungary’s recent approval, Sweden’s accession was finally realized.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed Sweden’s entry into NATO as a “historic moment,” emphasizing its significance for the alliance and the transatlantic relationship. Blinken emphasized the valuable contributions Sweden brings to NATO, including well-trained armed forces, advanced military capabilities, and strategic geographic positioning.

As Sweden officially joins NATO, it stands poised to enhance the alliance’s collective defense capabilities and strengthen regional security in the face of evolving threats. With its commitment to NATO’s values and principles, Sweden reaffirms its role as a vital partner in safeguarding Euro-Atlantic security and promoting peace and stability in the region.

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