File photo: Swedish and NATO flags are seen printed on paper this illustration taken 13 April 2022; Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - On Tuesday 5 December 2023, the United States and Sweden signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement, the US Department of State said, as the Nordic country strengthens military alliances while waiting for approval to join NATO.

"Sweden is a strong, capable defence partner that champions NATO's values, and will further strengthen the Alliance once its NATO accession is completed," the State Department said in a written statement. "Sweden's membership will strengthen our collective defence and enhance our ability to respond to security challenges in the Euro-Atlantic area."

Swedish Defence Minister Pal Jonson said he was hopeful that accession would happen "as soon as possible," but would not give any estimate when Turkey and Hungary - the only two NATO members not to give Sweden the green light yet - would add their support.