Saturday June 25, 2022

Blinken confident about Finland, Sweden NATO memberships soon

Published : 28 May 2022, 03:12

Updated : 28 May 2022, 15:55

  DF Report

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday expressed his confidence that Finland and Sweden will be allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) soon.

“The United States fully supports Finland and Sweden joining the Alliance, and I continue to be confident that both countries will soon be NATO Allies,” Blinken said at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto after a meeting in Washington.

Replying to a queries whether he has seen any progress towards getting Turkey onboard and what concretely the United States is going to do with Turkey, Blinken said that the US is also talking to Turkey and he remains confident to work through this process swiftly and that things will move forward with both countries.

“…Finland and Sweden are working directly with Turkey to address some of the concerns that it raised. We’re also talking to Turkey. I saw the Turkish Foreign Minister in New York about a week ago, and those conversations continue,” said the US secretary.

“In that process, countries raise concerns that they may have. We work through them; that’s what Finland and Sweden are doing right now with Turkey, and I’m confident that this will move forward,” he added.

He also said that the United States will also maintain its robust exercise activity and presence in the Baltic Sea region.

Haavisto also told the press conference that he believes the problems with Turkey can be solved.

“In regarding Turkey, our delegations visit actually Wednesday both from Sweden and Finland. Turkey had a good negotiations there, long negotiations, agreed to continue those talks,…and we think that these problems can be solved that – which Turkey has been raising,” said Haavisto replying to a query.

He said that it’s probably very important that some results could be achieved before the Madrid summit, which is an important moment for NATO and also for us as applicant countries, in the end of June.

He said Turkey has raised some concerns regarding the PKK issue, terrorist issues, and so forth.

“ The PKK is a forbidden organization in Finland. We are part of those solutions in the European Union, where terrorist organizations are listed. It’s the same in Sweden and so forth, and these are the answers that we are giving, of course, in this case to Turkey,” said Haavisto.

“We, of course, hope that the process goes smoothly and rapidly because this – what we call the grey zone between the – putting the application in and finally getting approved as NATO members, of course, includes some security concerns,” said the Foreign Minister.

Haavisto visited Washington DC on 25–27 May. In addition to meeting Blinken and speak with representatives of the US administration and Congress, he discussed Finland’s views on transatlantic security at an event held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which is a non-profit policy research organisation focusing on security policy.

Haavisto and Blinken discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland’s application for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European security, and the bilateral relations between Finland and the United States.

Meanwhile, Turkey's objections to Finland and Sweden joining the NATO alliance persist despite diplomatic efforts and are not likely to change until the two Nordic countries accept Turkey´s demands.