Flags of Finland, left, NATO and Sweden, right, are displayed during a ceremony to mark Sweden’s and Finland’s application for membership in Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday May 18, 2022. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the military alliance stands ready to seize a historic moment and move quickly on allowing Finland and Sweden to join its ranks, after the two countries submitted their membership requests. (Johanna Geron/Pool via AP)InternationalIndiaAfricaMOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Swedish government said on Wednesday that it had submitted to the country’s parliament a bill on accession to NATO. “Today, the Government presented a bill proposing that the Riksdag [parliament] approve Sweden’s accession to NATO. The bill is an important step on the path to Swedish NATO membership,” the government said in a statement. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom added that entering NATO was the best way to ensure the security of the country and contribute to strengthening the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic region. WorldSwedish Foreign Ministry Vows Not to Host Nuclear Weapons in Country After Joining NATO7 March, 22:56 GMT”The Government bill on Sweden’s NATO membership is a historic event and an important step on the path towards membership. This means that we stand ready to join NATO together with Finland once all NATO countries have ratified our accession protocols,” Billstrom noted, as quoted by the statement. Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022, several months after Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine. Their membership bids were initially blocked by Turkiye, which accused Stockholm and Helsinki of supporting “terrorists,” referring to supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. Turkiye lifted its objections after the three leaders met in Madrid in June 2022, where they signed a security memorandum which unblocked the process of accession of the two Nordic countries to the alliance. However, the accession process came to another standstill in January 2023 following the Quran-burning incident in Sweden, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that Stockholm should not count on Ankara’s support for its NATO bid. Turkey also discussed with other NATO members the possibility of approving Finland’s application separately. The talks with Sweden also resumed. On Thursday, the three countries are due to hold a meeting in Brussels to discuss NATO membership.