Hungary ratifies Sweden's Nato bid - RTHK
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Hungary ratifies Sweden's Nato bid

2024-02-26 HKT 23:56
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  • Hungary ratifies Sweden's Nato bid
Hungary's parliament approved Sweden's Nato accession on Monday, clearing the last hurdle before the historic step by the Nordic country whose neutrality lasted through two world wars and the simmering conflict of the Cold War.

Hungary's vote ended months of delays to complete Sweden's security policy shift and followed a visit by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Friday during which the two countries signed an arms deal.

Sweden's Nato membership was supported by 188 lawmakers in Hungarian parliament, with six against and no abstentions.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has faced pressure from Nato allies to fall in line and seal Sweden's accession to the alliance.

"Finally it is done, Sweden is the 32nd member of the alliance, and this way Nato has become stronger," Agnes Vadai, a lawmaker of the opposition party Democratic Coalition (DK) told parliament.

Stockholm abandoned its non-alignment policy for greater safety within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine in 2022.

With Sweden following Finland into Nato, President Vladimir Putin has effectively achieved the very thing he sought to avert when he launched his war in Ukraine – an expansion of the alliance, Western leaders have said.

While Finland became a Nato member last year, Sweden was kept waiting as Turkey and Hungary, which both maintain better relations with Russia than other members of the US-led alliance, raised objections.

Turkey withheld ratification on Sweden's membership demanding tougher action against militants from the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) it said had made a home in Sweden.

Sweden changed its laws and relaxed rules over arms sales to assuage Turkey. President Tayyip Erdogan also linked ratification with US approval of sales of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, with Ankara now expecting the United States to work on securing the US Congress' endorsement. (Reuters)

Hungary ratifies Sweden's Nato bid