Pandor says Finland's bid to join NATO indicates a decline in international security

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Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor.
Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor.
Misha Jordaan, Gallo Images
  • International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor says Finland's bid to join NATO indicates a decline in international security.
  • Finland applied to become a member of NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • Pandor is attending the Nordic-African Foreign Ministers' Meeting before going on a working trip to Sweden and Norway.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor says Finland's bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is an indication of a decline in international security.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Nordic-African Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Tuesday, Pandor said it was not a good sign when a country known for neutrality wanted to join NATO.

Pandor will also visit Norway and Sweden this week.

"These are countries [who] have always taken a neutral position when it comes to war. And I do think they are feeling very challenged by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and believe that they need to protect themselves. This is a sovereign decision of every country, but we have expressed regret because traditionally the Nordic countries have been countries that have upheld peace," Pandor said.

She added:

For them to now feel this way about security... For them now to be hugely concerned about security is a worry to the world. It just gives you an illustration of the decline in security internationally.

READ | 'We are witnessing tectonic shifts in global affairs' – Naledi Pandor

South Africa is one of the countries that have taken a non-aligned position on the war in Ukraine. The country chose to abstain in a vote against Russia by the United Nations General Assembly, which was aimed at suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra defended their non-aligned stance.

"You have to decide whether you risk being part of the problem or the solution. You ponder your choices… and reach a decision based on your own history, track record… that it is better to cast certain votes.

"The Non-Aligned Movement, which my country belongs to, has to take responsibility and offer solutions in a good way, while sticking to the principles that make us a moral actor on the international scene to make sure there's a solution that'll bring peace and everlasting good neighbour relations between the two parties."

READ | Pandor says R50m donation to Cuba not linked to R350m assistance package

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto defended his country's decision to join NATO, saying they were not strong from a military point of view.

"For us, going to the Finnish reaction, we have been, for a long time, outside military alliances… but the Russian attack on Ukraine triggered in Finland a very strong solidarity toward Ukraine.

"We see that our neighbour Russia, unfortunately, is more unpredictable… We recognise some of the risks, the threat of weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons, where our own defence is not as comprehensive. So, we decided to send our application to NATO."

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