KABUL (Pajhwok): NATO Secretary General has said, if Finland and Sweden decides to apply in the alliance, will be welcomed with open arms .
On Thursday NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the European Parliament in Brussels to meet President Roberta Metsola and the conference of presidents of the seven political groups in the Parliament. This is the first time that a NATO Secretary General has met with the group of European Parliament party leaders. The alliance said in a statement.
The Secretary General praised the European Parliament for its strong support to Ukraine, and stressed that the NATO-EU partnership is vital at this critical moment for our shared security.
He mentioned the unprecedented level of cooperation between the two organizations on a wide range of issues, including in the Western Balkans, on cyber, resilience and maritime security.
In a joint press point with President Metsola, the Secretary General emphasized that NATO and the EU “stand together in solidarity with Ukraine”.
He welcomed the EU’s strong economic sanctions on Russia and stated that to date, NATO Allies have pledged and provided at least US $8 billion in military support to Ukraine, and continue to step up.
Asked by reporters how quickly the process of NATO accession could go if Finland and Sweden decide to apply, the Secretary General said: “It is of course for Finland and Sweden to decide whether they would like to apply for membership in NATO or not. But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be welcomed with open arms to NATO.
“Finland and Sweden are our closest partners, they are strong, mature democracies, EU members, and we have worked with Finland and Sweden for many, many years. ”
“We know that their armed forces meet NATO standards, are interoperable with NATO forces, we train together, we exercise together, and we have also worked with Finland and Sweden in many different missions and operations. So if they apply, they will be welcomed, and I also expect the process to be quick. And that they can then join NATO after the formal process has been finalized.” Stoltenberg said.