On Tuesday, Finland's Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto signed the letter informing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) about his country's interest in engaging in accession talks.
Tensions Mounts as Sweden, Finland Poised to Join NATO
Earlier in the day, the country's Parliament had endorsed the plan in a vote of 188 in favor and eight against. In the afternoon, President Sauli Niinisto decided, on the proposal by the cabinet of Prime Minister Sanna Marin, that the notification could be sent.
The government also appointed the Finnish delegation for the talks with NATO and its member countries. Foreign Minister Haavisto will lead the delegation, with Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen as an alternate, the government press release said.
President Niinisto attended the government session online from Stockholm, Sweden, where he and his spouse, Jenni Haukio, are on a state visit. Niinisto's office said that the president was scheduled to leave Stockholm for Washington in the United States on Wednesday for talks with U.S. President Joe Biden. Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson will also be in the U.S. capital on that date.
The letter on Finland's intention to join the Alliance is expected to be delivered on Wednesday by the country's ambassador to NATO, Klaus Korhonen. He told Finland's national radio Yle that he hoped the letters from his country and Sweden could be delivered simultaneously.
The accession talks with NATO will cover political, legal, resource, information security, and defense and military issues. Finnish officials expect the ratification by all 30 NATO member countries to be completed in four to 12 months.
Last Friday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country does not have a positive opinion of the two nations joining the military alliance. Russia has repeatedly warned Sweden and Finland against joining the military bloc, saying such a move would oblige it to "restore military balance" by strengthening its defenses in the Baltic Sea region.