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Hungarian president signs Sweden's bid to join NATO

 

Hungary's parliament ratified Sweden's bid on February 26, ending more than a year of delays that frustrated other alliance members in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Tamas Sulyok, the president of the republic, today signed the decision taken by the National Assembly on February 26, 2024, regarding Sweden's membership in NATO," a statement on the presidential website read.

Sweden, which has been militarily neutral for two centuries, will then be invited to accede to the Washington Treaty and officially become NATO's 32nd member.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine two years ago prompted Sweden and neighboring Finland to apply to join the trans-Atlantic bloc, ending their longstanding stance of non-alignment.

Every NATO member has to approve a new country's membership.

Finland joined in April last year, but Sweden's bid was stalled by both Hungary and Turkey, with Ankara approving Stockholm's candidacy only in January.

Though repeatedly saying it supported Swedish membership in principle, Hungary kept prolonging the process, asking Stockholm to stop "vilifying" the Hungarian government.

After a meeting between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson in Budapest, the Hungarian leader announced that the two had clarified "our mutual good intentions".

Hungary also signed a deal to acquire four Swedish-made fighter jets, expanding its fleet of 14 Jas 39 Gripen fighters.