Sweden's Parliament endorses country joining NATO

International |  IANS  | Published :

Stockholm, March 23 (IANS) Swedish lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted in favour of the country joining the NATO.

The vote on Wednesday was 269 in favour and 37 against, reports Xinhua news agency.

Forty-three lawmakers were absent and two of the eight parties represented in the country's Parliament (Riksdag) -- the Left Party and the Green Party -- voted against the motion.

Hungary and Turkey remain the last two hold-outs among NATO's 30 members to ratify the accession of Sweden and Finland to the military alliance.

Also on Wednesday, a proposal tabled by the Left Party and the Green Party to outlaw nuclear weapons on Sweden's territory in both peace and wartime was voted down in the Riksdag.

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in 2022 but faced objections from alliance member Turkey on the grounds that the two countries harbour members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group by Ankara.

The accession needs a unanimous agreement by all members of NATO.

On March 17, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to ask his country's Parliament to vote on Finland's NATO membership bid, but delayed that of Sweden, saying Helsinki has taken concrete steps to address Ankara's security concerns.

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