Sweden set to join Nato after Turkey lifts objection

Once neutral Sweden will become the 32nd member of Nato, a military alliance, after Turkey lifts sanctions objection

 Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson

Sweden is on course to become Nato’s 32nd member after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to support the country’s bid to join the military alliance.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said late on Monday the Turkish leader would forward Sweden's bid to parliament in Ankara and "ensure ratification".

Sweden applied to join the alliance along with Finland last year after Russia invaded Ukraine. Both countries have a long history of military neutrality.

But while Finland joined Nato earlier this year, Sweden’s bid was blocked by Turkey that accused it of hosting Kurdish militants.

As one of Nato's 31 members, Turkey has a veto over any new country joining the alliance.

Reacting to the news, US President Joe Biden said he welcomed the commitment by President Erdogan to proceed with "swift ratification".

"I stand ready to work with President Erdogan and Turkey on enhancing defence and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd Nato ally," a White House statement said.

Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said: "I am very happy, it is a good day for Sweden."

Nato countries are meeting in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius with Ukraine’s bid to join the alliance high on the agenda.