The United States is confident that Finland and Sweden will soon become NATO members despite delays in ratification by Turkey and Hungary, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.
After meeting with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts on Thursday, Blinken said both countries had shown their good faith to join the alliance, mainly in their intention to join NATO to provide support to Ukraine to counter Russia’s invasion.
Almost all of NATO’s 30 members have already approved Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance, which came after Russia launched its war in Ukraine. Turkey and Hungary are the only two countries that have not yet ratified the accession of Finland and Sweden.
“Both countries have taken considerable and concrete steps to meet their commitments, including those related to security concerns on the part of our ally Turkey,” Blinken said. “As its membership process continues, the United States is fully committed to the accession of Finland and Sweden.”
However, Blinken said he believed that Turkey’s concerns, particularly with Sweden over its previous support for Kurdish groups that Ankara considers a threat, will be overcome in the near future. Sweden this week extradited a convicted member of the Kurdish militant group PKK to Turkey. The Hungarian Parliament is expected to vote on NATO expansion early next year.
“I am confident that NATO will soon formally welcome Finland and Sweden as members,” he told reporters during a joint news conference at the State Department with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom and Swedish Foreign Minister Exterior of Finland, Pekka Haavisto.
Blinken took the opportunity to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to go to war with Ukraine had backfired if he really intended to roll back NATO expansion.
Source: El Nuevo Herald