The US is confident that Finland and Sweden would be approved soon for NATO membership, despite ratification delays in allies Turkey and Hungary.
After meeting his Finnish and Swedish counterparts on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said both countries had proved their credentials to join the alliance, notably in their support of NATO’s efforts in Ukraine.
Nearly all of NATO’s 30 members have already approved Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance, which were made after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Turkey and Hungary are the only two countries to have not yet ratified Finland and Sweden’s accession.
The Nordic countries “have taken significant, concrete actions to fulfill their commitments, including those related to the security concerns on the part of our ally, Turkey,” Blinken said. “As their membership process continues, the United States is fully committed to Finland and Sweden’s accession.”
However, Blinken said he thought Turkey’s concerns, notably with Sweden over its past support for Kurdish groups that Ankara considers a threat, would be overcome in the near future.
Sweden this week extradited a convicted member of the Kurdish PKK militant group to Turkey. Hungary’s parliament is expected to vote on NATO expansion early next year.
“I’m confident that NATO will formally welcome Finland and Sweden as members soon,” he told reporters at a joint news conference at the US Department of State with Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billstrom and Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.
Haavisto said discussions with Turkey over the PKK have gone well so far, although there was still not a date for the Turkish parliament to consider the expansion.
Billstrom said he would soon travel to Turkey to continue talks on the matter.
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