If Finland and Sweden apply to join NATO, they would be welcomed, Stoltenberg says

If Finland and Sweden apply to join NATO, they would be welcomed, Stoltenberg says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO allies would welcome Finland and Sweden into the alliance if they decided to join but any such move is up to the two nations, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

"It's for them to decide of course but if they apply, I expect that 30 allies will welcome them," Stoltenberg told a news conference.

He said NATO would likely find ways "to address the concerns they may have about this interim period between having applied and until the last ratification (by allies) has taken place", referring to possible Russian retaliation before the pair were fully under NATO protection.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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