RIGA - Saeima on Thursday ratified NATO Accession Protocols for Finland and Sweden.
Ratification of the protocols was followed by a standing ovation.
As the LETA was informed by the Office of the President, President Egils Levits welcomes the bills supported by the parliament on the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. "I encourage all allies to take this step so that the accession protocols can enter into force," said the President.
He admitted that Latvia has always highly valued the close cooperation of Sweden and Finland with NATO and their high defense capabilities. The accession of these countries to NATO will not only contribute to the security of the Baltic Sea region and the eastern flank, but will also strengthen the security of the whole of Europe and NATO.
"We will be ready to defend each other and the values on which our alliance is based," Levits said.
As reported, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated earlier that after Russia started war against Ukraine, the governments of Finland and Sweden drew up reports to their respective parliaments on changes in the security environment. The two countries' governments concluded that only accession to NATO and the security guarantees provided under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty can ensure the security of Finland and Sweden in case of a potential military conflict.
After broad discussion, the Finnish parliament and Swedish government decided to apply to join NATO.
At the NATO Summit in Madrid the end of June, both countries were formally invited to join the Alliance.
According to the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, considering Russia's war in Ukraine, its aggressive rhetoric and potential for escalating the security situation in the Baltic Sea region, it is in the interests of Latvia and its allies to speed up the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, thus narrowing Russia's window of opportunities.
For a long time Finland and Sweden had been reserved about joining NATO, but the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine has prompted the two countries to apply to join the alliance.