Sweden boosts defense ties with UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson meet the media during a joint press conference in Harpsund, Sweden, May 11, 2022. (FRANK AUGSTEIN / POOL / AP)

STOCKHOLM – Sweden strengthened its defense and security ties with Britain with a "political declaration of solidarity" on Wednesday, ahead of the country's historical decision on its NATO membership.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and her visiting UK counterpart Boris Johnson signed the declaration after discussing the security situation in Europe and bilateral relations.

Under the "political declaration of solidarity", Sweden and the UK have agreed to "meet challenges in peace, crisis and conflict together"

Under the declaration, the two countries have agreed to "meet challenges in peace, crisis and conflict together."

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"Should either country suffer a disaster or an attack, the United Kingdom and Sweden will, upon request from the affected country, assist each other in a variety of ways, which may include military means," reads the declaration.

"Today, we are taking another step towards strengthening our bilateral defense and security cooperation," Andersson said at Wednesday's press conference.

The bilateral declaration "will allow us to share more intelligence, bolster our military exercises and further our joint development of technology," said Johnson.

Swedish ruling Social Democratic Party's Secretary Tobias Baudin said recently that the party would have an extra meeting on the country's NATO membership decision on May 15.

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Several Swedish media have speculated that Sweden and Finland may submit their NATO applications jointly during the NATO summit to be held in Madrid between June 28 and 30.

The United States, Germany and other countries are currently wooing Sweden and Finland to join NATO. However, Russia has repeatedly warned Sweden and Finland not to join NATO, or face consequences.