OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is the first country to formally approve the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, following an expedited signing by member states on Tuesday to expand the nuclear arsenal.
Before Finland and Sweden can be protected by NATO’s defense clauses, the 30-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization needs to approve the accession protocol by parliament – an attack on one member is an attack on all.
Members of Canada’s House of Commons voted unanimously in favor of Finland and Sweden in a vote before the chamber closed for a summer break in early June.
Before using an administrative process to approve their membership on Tuesday, Secretary of State Melanie Jolie spoke with anti-lawmakers so they were in agreement, a spokesman for the minister said.
“We wanted to be the first country to approve,” said a spokeswoman for Jolie.
The signing of the protocol allows Helsinki and Stockholm to participate in NATO meetings and has further access to intelligence information until approval.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that “Canada has full confidence in the ability of Finland and Sweden to integrate quickly and effectively into NATO and to contribute to the alliance’s collective defense.”
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil and Steve Shearer in Ottawa; Edited by Bill Barcrot)
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